Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Prior to last week’s election, I read this submission by a reader to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial pages:
Make election day a holiday
With arguments for and against photo IDs as well as limiting voting hours, a simple solution is to make voting a national holiday.
Democrats will be happy, as this eliminates voters standing in long lines during large turnouts hoping their vote is cast before the polls close. Republicans will be happy, as this is an opportunity to have everyone get a voter ID card. Polls can be open during set hours, making it uniform for every district and state.
We can move President's Day to November, making it more meaningful than a day known for mattress sales. What can be a more important day for Americans than the right to vote for their government leaders?
The writer is referring to the November elections. On the surface and at first blush I’m sure such an idea would be quite appealing to many. However the rationale is flawed. Where do I begin?
Do we really need an entire day to vote? Here in Wisconsin there’s a law requiring employers to allow employees time off during the working day to vote if the employee gives prior notice.
With absentee balloting, there are ample opportunities to vote prior to Election Day. In Wisconsin, you don’t even have to offer up a reason why you can’t show up on Election Day.
The letter writer writes, “What can be a more important day for Americans than the right to vote for their government leaders?” That’s making a huge assumption that if given a national holiday some folks would be more inclined to vote as opposed to say, staying home and watching TV or hitting a shopping mall or Indian casino.
It’s a simple truth a lot of people do not reflect on the great leader MLK was on MLK Day.
The writer envisions more people showing up to sign up for photo IDs if required. If that assumption is true, then more poll workers will be tied up creating more long lines that the above writer doesn’t seem to be too fond of.
And who wants a higher voter turnout? I know I’m in the minority and that’s OK by me if I don’t walk lock step with editorial writers and The League of Women Voters. Ideally, I’d prefer fewer voters since we probably won’t see more informed voters.
Lost productivity and economic activity? You’d be better off making the day after the Super Bowl a national holiday. (Actually, petitions were sent to the White House to do just that).
And since Congress has already messed with the calendar to oblige President’s Day, I doubt they’d tinker again and move the day to November. Besides, who wants a day off in November?
Yet another of those ideas with good intentions…