CUNY students, administration require day off on Election Day

CUNY students have been invited to help facilitate the electoral process as poll workers at various poll sites across New York City. As compensation, they will receive $100 for roughly six hours of work on Election Day.

New York City residents who have been selected as regular poll workers to work the longer shifts, which last from 5 a.m. until after the last voter leaves, get a larger compensation. People selected to work as poll workers must be registered as either a democrat or a republican.

Election Day is a highly revered day, especially during this election cycle. It is regarded as a day on which citizens can exercise their constitutional right and directly participate in the election of their government representatives. The presidential election rallies the highest voter turnout due to the fact that the president is the most important figure in government and politics.

Despite the commotion that both the press and the public generate over the election cycle—especially every four years when the president is elected—Election Day seems to be a quiet celebration. In the United States, Election Day is not considered a national holiday, which means that it does not warrant an official day off from work and school.

Public institutions need to consider the importance of establishing Election Day as a national holiday. Other countries around the world already dedicate a day on the weekend to voting for prospective representatives. The motive behind this strategy is to provide citizens with more opportunities to go out and vote. In the United States, however, Election Day generally falls on a Tuesday. Although poll sites remain open from before dawn until dark, many citizens become discouraged from casting their votes due to inconvenience or other obligations such as work and school.

Many New York City public schools, in particular, are designated poll zones, so grade school students do not attend classes on that day. Schools and institutions within CUNY also serve as poll sites. Although a college campus is noticeably larger in size compared to a high school or elementary school campus, it is a public institution that should encourage voting and contribute to the increase of voter turnout.

There are about 500,000 students in the CUNY system, making it the most populated university system in the United States. Most of the people attending CUNY colleges are eligible to vote and elect one of the most important government officials who will represent the country for four years. After holding multiple voter registration rallies, it does not make sense for CUNY to hold classes that could bar students from voting. If students cannot vote, their voices cannot be represented.