Election Day Holiday May Have Mixed Effects, Suggests NIU Professor

Jul 24, 2020

A recent bill signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker made Election Day a state holiday. But political science research suggests that isn’t an optimum way to ensure voting access.

Northern Illinois University professor Scott Schraufnagel said a state holiday doesn’t guarantee certain groups, such as retail and farm workers, actually get time off.

“And the people who would get the day off (government workers, school employees and so forth) are people who generally tend to vote anyway.” 

Because of this, he said other reforms could be more effective. This includes "voting centers."  

“A voting center is one where you’re not expected to vote, in our country, in your precinct or in your neighborhood," he said. "You could vote anywhere in your county or anywhere in your state, and there’s no reason why we couldn’t do that.” 

Other reforms Schraufnagel suggested include expanded early and mail-in voting.