EDP calls on Harvard Law School—and Harvard University—to designate Election Day an academic holiday, just as several other law schools and universities already have.
Harvard’s current Election Day policy—which continues course instruction and lacks integrated civic engagement programming—imposes barriers to voting for students, staff, and faculty alike. It also misses an incredible opportunity to elevate the importance of democratic participation and engaged citizenship as a core Harvard value.
The Equal Democracy Project, in collaboration with Harvard College student organizers Lily Richman (‘24) and Alex Park (‘23) and JD/MPP Mark Haidar (’23), led an advocacy campaign for “Democracy Day” — a University holiday that would encourage voting and civic engagement for all federal elections. This advocacy campaign took place from January to May 2021.
Democracy Day generated remarkable cross-campus support from over 2,200 Harvard affiliates, including:
- All 14 student government bodies across Harvard
- 250+ faculty (spanning all Harvard schools)
- 380+ administrators, staff, and academic Appointees
- 90+ campus organizations (including Harvard College Democrats and Harvard College Republicans, HLS Democrats and HLS Republicans, and HLS American Constitution Society and HLS Federalist Society)
EDP encourages students, faculty, and staff to continue advocating for Democracy Day—with the goal of making it a reality by the 2024 election. To this end, please see below for relevant advocacy resources and press coverage, as well as a list of other law schools and universities that have already designated Election Day a school holiday.
Resources for Democracy Day Organizers
- Letter of Support for Democracy Day from the Harvard Community
- The key advocacy document with the 2,200+ Harvard signatories.
- Democracy Day at Harvard University – Concept Paper
- A detailed proposal that makes the case for Democracy Day, provides sample programming, and responds to counterarguments.
- Joint Resolution to Make Election Day a University Holiday (i.e. “Democracy Day”)
- The Joint Resolution passed by all 14 Harvard student government bodies.
- Hundreds Sign Letter Asking Harvard to Designate Election Day as University-Wide ‘Democracy Day’ (The Harvard Crimson)
- Harvard Needs Democracy Days (The Harvard Crimson Editorial Board)
- President Bacow, Implement Democracy Day (Mark Haidar, EDP President 2019-2021)