SGA moves to recognize Election Day as UA holiday


CW File

CW File

Kayla Solino | @kaylasolino, Staff Reporter

The Student Government Association unanimously passed a resolution on Thursday for the University to recognize Election Day as a holiday to improve voting access for UA students. 

The approved resolution will be sent to President Stuart Bell, Vice President and Provost James Dalton, Vice President for Student Life Myron Pope, and Faculty Senate President Chapman Greer for review.

The resolution was authored by College of Arts and Sciences Senator John Dodd who said getting to a polling place can be difficult for some students. Alabama polling locations are open for 12 hours, which can be limiting for students with busy schedules.

More than 57% of UA students are from out-of-state, and many out-of-state students rely on mail-in ballots to cast their votes. As the availability and reliability of these types of ballots has been reduced in recent years, Dodd said a day off could ensure that students have time to vote. 

The resolution’s approval received praise from campus organizations like Vote Everywhere UA, whose goal is to promote the democratic process. Vote Everywhere President Alli Swann and Vice President Jack Kappelman played key roles in the resolution, gathering data and voicing their concern for months leading up to its presentation to the senate. 

Of recent data collected by Kappleman and Swann, 97% of 322 respondents said they support Election Day being a holiday and 89% of respondents said it would make voting easier. 

“This is a huge step in the right direction …  it’s really great to see the student body acknowledging that this is something that would benefit all students,” Swann said. 

The SGA said it encourages all students to exercise their right to vote and hopes the passage of Dodd’s resolution will encourage that belief. 

“To inspire civic engagement, the SGA supports the efforts to designate federal election days as holidays formally recognized by UA. It is our hope that this initiative will allow students ample opportunity to participate in our democratic system,” SGA Press Secretary Olivia Davis said. 

Dodd said he is proud of his first piece of legislation but is prouder to be part of an organization like the SGA. 

“I’m even more proud to be a part of an organization that unanimously agrees that we need to broaden the availability of voting to our students,” Dodd said. 

Dodd encourages students to stay informed and get involved on campus with organizations that align with their political views. 

“We have organizations on campus for every political affiliation, and all of them have one thing in common. … They like to run voter drives, and they also like to make sure you know where to vote,” Dodd said. “I would really just recommend students to get involved with wherever they align politically on campus and just find your way to the ballot.”