Here’s what’s open and closed on Election Day

Election Day is not a federal holiday in the United States

Meredith Clark
New York
Tuesday 08 November 2022 19:29 GMT

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The 2022 midterm elections will take place on Tuesday, 8 November. As millions of Americans cast their votes, many people are wondering how Election Day will affect their daily schedules.

Election Day is not a federal holiday in the United States, but some states across the country have passed legislation to observe the date as a legal holiday. This means that a number of schools and government offices in certain states will be closed, while others will remain open. In some cases, schools may also serve as polling locations, causing schools to close as well.

According to the Movement Advancement Project, states including Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, and the territory of Puerto Rico have declared Election Day as a civic holiday.

As a result, some government offices in these states will be closed on Tuesday, apart from designated polling locations, but federal offices will be business as usual.

There are still nearly 20 states in the US that do not celebrate Election Day as a public holiday. But depending on where you live, some employers must allow time off for people wanting to cast their vote and, in some cases, employers must even provide paid time off for voting.

Are schools open?

On Election Day, it’s important to check with local school districts for updates on school closures.

For example, New York City schools will be closed on Tuesday, with no remote instruction to be given as well. But in New Jersey, where election day is a state holiday, the decision to close schools is made by local districts. According to the Delaware Department of Education, a majority of school districts will observe election day.

Will mail be delivered on Election Day?

While a number of schools and public offices will be closed on Election Day, the US Postal Service will continue to deliver mail on Tuesday, seeing as many Americans will be casting their votes via absentee ballot through the mail. UPS and FedEx will also continue operations on Tuesday.

Are banks open?

Since Election Day is not a federal holiday, banks – and banking services such as ATM machines and online banking apps – should also remain normal throughout the day.

Is the stock market open on Election Day?

The stock market and the New York Stock Exchange will remain open for trading on Election Day. The next holiday observed by the stock market is Thanksgiving.

Are grocery stores, retail stores, and other businesses closed?

Depending on where you live, most local businesses, clothing stores, and supermarkets should remain open on Tuesday. Although, their hours may be altered to allow employees time to vote, so double-check its hours of operation.

A bill to make Election Day a national holiday has been proposed in Congress many times. Earlier this year, a Democratic voting rights bill that would’ve made Election Day a national holiday, ensured access to early voting and mail-in ballots, and cracked down on voter interference failed to pass in the Senate. In June 2021, Republican senators blocked the For The People Act – which would also make Election Day a national holiday – with a filibuster.

According to a 2018 survey from the Pew Research Center, 59 per cent of Republicans and 71 per cent of Democrats support the idea to make Election Day a federal holiday. But the two parties have often differed on how the national holiday would affect the future of voting.

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