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Could Election Day and Indigenous Peoples Day become federal holidays?

by DrewLUD
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Summer 2021 finally saw the adoption of Juneteenth as a national holiday, bringing to 12 the number of permanent federal holidays. Its advocates had pushed for decades for a national holiday that would recognize the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas became the last in the U.S. to find out they were free.

Yet advocates have long sought federal recognition of two other observances: Election Day and Indigenous Peoples Day.

Indigenous Peoples Day is a local and state holiday in some parts of the country — usually held on Columbus Day — that celebrates the cultures of Native Americans. It was created in 1992, the 500th anniversary of explorer Christopher Columbus’ coming to the Americas. 

Election Day has been proposed as a national holiday at least since 2005 to increase voter turnout in a country with low voter participation. 

Pushes for both moved to the forefront in 2020 in the wake of heightened calls for social justice and increased accessibility to voting. Like the path to Juneteenth, the drive for these days to become nationwide holidays has been anything but a picnic.  

Cynthia Rasbury, of Teaneck, wears a vote mask as she waits to vote at Bryant Elementary School in Teaneck, N.J. on Tuesday Nov. 3, 2020.

Now that Juneteenth is on the books, what’s the likelihood that Election Day and Indigenous Peoples Day, both occurring in the fall, could be added to calendars nationwide? A look at the road to reality for other holidays tied to representation may provide clues. 

Getting on the calendar

By now, the story of Opal Lee as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth” is well-known.



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Source: GANNETT Syndication Service

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