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  • A first time voter casts her ballot during the 2018 midterm elections in the United States.

    A first time voter casts her ballot during the 2018 midterm elections in the United States. | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 February 2019

The Ohio city of Sandusky has replaced 'Columbus Day' for election day as a paid holiday for workers.

Starting this year, workers in the city of Sandusky, Ohio, in the United States will enjoy election day as a paid holiday, and will no longer observe Columbus Day as an official holiday.

City officials said they decided to make the switch because it prioritizes voting while also respecting Columbus Day’s controversial origins, which critics say celebrates the extremination of Indigenous people and genocide.

“We are swapping [the holidays] to prioritize Voting Day as a day off so that our employees can vote,” city manager Eric Wobser told the Sandusky Register. “It’s also because Columbus Day has become controversial, and many cities have eliminated it as a holiday.”

Other cities have opted for alternative ceremonies instead of recognizing Columbus Day. For instance, Seattle holds Indigenous Peoples Week; Los Angeles celebrates Life Before Columbus Festival; and Crazy Horse, South Dakota, holds a Native American Day.

“What better way to celebrate the value of our employees and citizens than by removing barriers for them to participate in the greatest of American innovations, our democracy,” city officials said on Facebook.

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