February 01, 2012, 06:34PM
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Election Day as a National Holiday!An election day holiday = more time, more flexibility + more fun!
I was living in Brazil during their 2010 Presidential election and the country has the *brilliant* idea of making election day a national holiday. Many other countries have a similar approach and hold elections on Saturdays and Sundays. Contrast this with the U.S. where election day Tuesday can be a tad stressful as you try to rush to the voting booth before work or sneak out of the office early at the end of the day to make it to the polling station before it closes. Making election day a national holiday makes voting less onerous, more exciting and fun - and following Brazil's model - a bit of a party and a shared/collective experience!
Thinking about the questions of "what helps citizens participate and what gets in their way?" - I particularly like Brazil's approach because it makes voting more accessible to broader segments of the population - with most businesses and stores closed - employees no longer have to worry about doing their work AND voting - they can just focus on voting and watching the elections results. Plus when people have a more flexible schedule on election day - they can more easily devote the time to helping those (e.g., elderly or disabled) who might need a bit more assistance getting to the polls.
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