Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Lesson Plans

Sports franchises push for paid holiday this Election Day

June 23, 2020

Full Lesson



Directions: Watch the video, read the summary and answer the discussion questions. To read the transcript, click here

Summary: Some professional leagues such as the NBA and WNBA have announced they will make Election Day (Nov. 3, 2020) 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.

  • 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 Election Day as a holiday; however, in other states such bills have failed. Similar bills have failed in Congress as well.

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.

Today’s Daily News Story was written by EXTRA’s intern Ramses Rubio, a junior at Amherst College.

Follow us:





PBS NewsHour education stories newsletter

EXTRA’s Super Civics 2020 election teaching series newsletter


Media literacy education

What is media literacy?

Media literacy is the ability to access, evaluate and create all types of media, including news media.

All of NewsHour Classroom's resources contain lessons in media literacy, including questions like who produced the piece and what do you know about them?

Start by evaluating this video introducing NewsHour Classroom here.