Tomorrow (November 3) is election day for the U.S. presidential election of 2020, the last day people can personally vote for their preferred candidate to lead the nation for the next four years.
It is clearly an important day, but is it a federal holiday? Can you have the day off?
According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which is responsible for federal human resources, Election Day is not a federal holiday. The next national holiday is Veterans Day on November 11, 2020.
For a federal holiday to be recognized by the federal government, the president must establish it by law.
For example, while Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, according to Britannica, it only became an official holiday when the “Northerners” dominated Capitol Hill.
On a federal holiday, the offices of the federal government are usually closed – sometimes they close on July 3 before Independence Day – paving the way for other companies to offer paid leave to their employees.
Some companies, such as retailers and fitness centers, often stay open on certain federal holidays to protect seasonal sales.
What about state holidays?
Although Election Day is not recognized as a national holiday at the federal level, some states have worked to establish it as a state holiday by law.
This means that it only applies to the state in question and not to the entire nation. State government offices could also close because of these holidays.
Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York have also made Election Day a state holiday.
Virginia joined these states in April this year. In his address at the time, Governor Ralph Northam said: “Voting is a fundamental right, and these new laws strengthen our democracy by making voting easier, not harder.
“No matter who you are or where you live in Virginia, your voice deserves to be heard. I am proud to sign these laws.”
You can check state holidays on your local government’s website, which you can find on USA.gov.
If you still need to determine your nearest constituency for the 2020 U.S. presidential election, you can do so through Vote.org. The site has a special feature to determine the nearest polling place and confirm whether you are registered to vote. If you are concerned about attending in person on November 3, 2020, you can also check if your state allows early voting today.