Rainn Wilson's pitch to make Voting Day a national holiday
On NBC's The Office, Dwight Schrute "doesn't celebrate any major holidays," says Maane Khatchatourian at Entertainment Weekly. But the actor who plays him, Rainn Wilson, wants to create a new one: Voting Day. In collaboration with social media sites GOOD and SoulPancake, Wilson sells his proposal in a funny video (watch below) about a 19th century sharecropper showing up to vote in present-day California — the idea being that holding elections on a work day is an idea whose time has long passed.
Wilson's pitch is funny, but he's "not joking," says Jacob Soboroff at the predictably sympathetic site Why Tuesday? "There is absolutely no good reason whatsoever to vote on Tuesday," and that "incredibly stupid" tradition probably does a lot to explain why "voter turnout is horrendous" in the U.S.
I can get past the dumb-but-safely-implausible idea of taking the day off to vote, says William Bigelow at Breitbart's Big Hollywood. But "it's offensive to have airheads" like Wilson and his friends at SoulPancake "pontificate about how requiring proper identification for voting is too difficult for real Americans." Because that's the subtext of this video: A stealth attack on voter ID laws.
"The idea that voters shouldn't have to work on Election Day isn't a new one," nor a particularly unreasonable one, says David A. Graham at The Atlantic. Voting on Tuesdays really does seem archaic, and it's "especially difficult for people who work hourly jobs with low pay in urban centers, because lines are often long and they can't afford to take time off the job." Making Election Day a holiday isn't the only solution — we could vote on the weekend, or have elections a week later, on Veterans Day. Having The Office's Schrute push for businesses to close seems like a good start, though it's worth noting that "the list of participants is, let's say, brief at the moment."