The town of Sandusky, Ohio (population 25,346) will no longer observe Columbus Day. Instead, the city will effectively shut down to observe Election Day as a holiday.
On Wednesday, the Sandusky Register reported that the change will take effect this year, following a recent city commissioners meeting that made the decision official. All municipal offices will now close on the first Tuesday of November, rather than the second Monday of October (traditionally when Columbus Day is observed). Coincidentally, this exact proposal was floated by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) in November.
“We are swapping [holidays] to prioritize Voting Day as a day off so that our employees can vote,” city manager Eric Wobser told the Register. “It’s also because Columbus Day has become controversial, and many cities have eliminated it as a holiday.”
Sandusky, Ohio may be a small town, but it’s in a state that plays a prominent role in national politics. According to 270towin, all presidential candidates who won Ohio also went on to win the White House in every election dating back to at least 1980. And though Sandusky’s population is small, its move to make Election Day a national holiday could spread to other cities and towns in Ohio and could lead to higher Election Day turnout, with a Pew Research study finding that 71 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of Republicans support an Election Day holiday.
The move to make Election Day a national holiday isn’t just in Ohio, however. House Democrats’ first bill introduced in the 116th Congress includes a wide variety of changes to voting rights and election laws, as well as multiple anti-corruption measures. In addition to making Election Day a federal holiday, H.R. 1 — also known as the For The People Act — would promote automatic voter registration, online voter registration, and early voting, as well as put an end to states curtailing efforts to vote by mail. The bill would also require presidential candidates release at least 10 years of tax returns to be eligible for the ballot.
While the bill may pass the House of Representatives, it’s unlikely to even be brought up for a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) calling it a “power grab” by Democrats.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.