New Bill Proposed To Make Election Day A State Holiday In Maine
After two elections in 2018 and 2020 that fueled massive voter turnout, the Maine State Legislature is ready to consider a bill to make Election Day a statewide holiday. According to WGME, the bill will be proposed and voted upon in the coming weeks and if passed, Maine would join eleven other states in the country who have made Election Day a holiday.
The argument for making Election Day a full-fledged state holiday is simple; lines in 2018 were excessive and lengthy even in towns and cities who had good infrastructure to handle turnout. The longest lines and wait times came before and after the 9am-5pm typical workday. By making Election Day a holiday, potential voters would have the entire day to visit a polling location. Presumably that would lead to shorter lines, wait times and less frustration over the process.
The argument against making Election Day a state holiday boils down to the existing laws already in-place. Maine has easier requirements than other states to obtain absentee ballots, making early voting possible for those that would prefer to avoid lines on Election Day. Another potential impact from creating a new state holiday would be the effect on child care and parents who have kids at home the entire day who still need to find the time to visit a polling place.
After a flood of misinformation about mail-in voting and the security around it in the 2020 election cycle, the Maine Legislature may opt to make in-person voting as easy as possible for everyone from corner to corner in the state.