Sports Franchises Push for Paid Holiday This Election Day

Friday, July 31, 2020
NewsHour Weekend's Megan Thompson speaks to The Wall Street Journal's Louise Radnofksy about making Eleciton Day a paid holiday.

NewsHour Weekend's Megan Thompson speaks to The Wall Street Journal's Louise Radnofksy about making Eleciton Day a paid holiday.

Momentum Increases for Making Election Day A Paid Holiday

Some professional leagues such as the NBA and WNBA have announced they will make Election Day a paid holiday for players and employees. Collegiate athletic associations are also considering giving their paid employees the day off. Some professional teams are also planning on participating in campaigns to get out the vote. Watch the video, read the summary and answer the discussion questions. To read the transcript, click here

  • These changes from athletic associations come from more and more of their athletes, who previously branded themselves as apolitical, coming out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Louise Radnofksy.
  • Sports brands and athletes have changed their approach to activism, including more white athletes supporting movements for equality, as non-support or silence has led to increased criticism. 
  • Encouraging voting is a less-controversial way athletes and organizations (and other public figures) can demonstrate public engagement.
  • Fourteen states already have made Election Day a paid holiday; however, in other states such bills have failed. Similar bills have failed in Congress as well.



Making Election Day A Paid Holiday: Discussion Questions

  1. Essential question: Will the example of sports teams making Election Day a paid holiday influence other organizations, or even influence nation-wide voter turnout? Why or why not?
  2. What power do celebrities like athletes have to influence voter behavior through example? Explain. What about through support for movements such as Black Lives Matter?
  3. Does establishing a holiday for Election Day increase voter turnout? Explain. Radnofsky’s source is a decade old. Are there other more recent sources to gauge if a paid holiday would help voter turnout? How could you find out?
  4. Media literacy: What other voices or persons would you liked to have heard from in the piece?

Extension Activities

Discuss voter turnout with your students and have them answer the following questions. 

  1. Read this NewsHour article from 2016 examining why U.S. voter turnout is so low. What measures could be taken to increase voter turnout in America? Will these numbers change with a more politically active younger generation?
  2. What is your favorite professional or college sports team? (If you’re not a sports fan, consider another public-facing organization, including a local or national corporation). Find out what their stance is on supporting a paid holiday for Election Day. Then write a short email making your case for why they should favor a holiday on Election Day.

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Extra.