Sen. Bernie Sanders has proposed a bill in the Senate that would make Election Day a national holiday.
Sanders introduced an amendment to the U.S. code to include the Tuesday after the first Monday in November during even-numbered years as “Democracy Day.”
Sanders, I-Vt., feels that the legislation will make it easier for Americans to vote.
“In America, we should be celebrating our democracy and doing everything possible to make it easier for people to participate in the political process,” Sanders said in a statement. “Election Day should be a national holiday so that everyone has the time and opportunity to vote. While this would not be a cure-all, it would indicate a national commitment to create a more vibrant democracy.”
As part of a group of proposals, the senator has also proposed legislation that automatically registers eligible citizens to vote when they turn 18 years old.
“We should not be satisfied with a ‘democracy’ in which more than 60 percent of our people don’t vote and some 80 percent of young people and low-income Americans fail to vote,” he said.
Sanders, co-sponsor of a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United decision—a ruling that allows corporations to contribute to efforts such as campaigns—also said that he plans to introduce legislation this fall that would allow public financing of election campaigns.
Calling the establishment of Election Day as a holiday “an important step forward,” the bill was introduced as Democrats celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.