Why Tuesday? And Why This Competition Is NOT Over After Today.
Monday, November 6th, 2006
We’re encouraging people around the country to ask their politicians a seemingly trivial question.
We’re devoting a website to the discussion of the clips we get.
Why are we doing this?
The answer is that we believe a conversation about structural and procedural election reforms, reforms designed to get more Americans into the voting booths, is one of our country’s most pressing needs. Why Tuesday and GOTW are not just about asking one question; what we mean by “why Tuesday” is, “Why are we doing things this way? Why aren’t we questioning how we run elections if they aren’t working? How can we be doing better?”
There is going to be a dramatic election today. Much will be written about what the outcome means for policy and politics over the next two years. There will be some contested elections- machines that didn’t work, polling stations so woefully under-staffed or -machined that voters are unjustly disenfranchised by clunky realities- and a good (perhaps a great) deal will be written about that. And then there will be turnout. There may be a “spike” in participation tomorrow, which for a midterm election means clearing forty-two or forty-three percent. There will be some written about this, and some brief discussion of the reasons behind our decline in participation since World War II. And then, everyone will get on with wondering who’s going to run in 2008.
This is fine, if you don’t believe our voter participation levels are a grave problem. But we think they are. We know many people and organizations agree, and we’re trying to pitch in and draw attention to the issue in our own way. The question it comes down to is simple: how can we change the procedures of voting- when we vote, how we vote- to do the best we can for the greatest number of Americans?
More after the break…
We think Tuesday might be part of the problem, because common sense and Census data indicate that it’s inconvenient for many Americans to vote on a workday. For a more complete discussion, visit the WT? website or read this Op-Ed from today’s Daily News by the organization’s founder, William Wachtel.
Are we able to say with certainty that Tuesday voting isn’t what’s best, and that “fixing” it is necessary? No- we don’t make that claim. But we are able to say that that question- and others that are equally important- are not being asked often or seriously enough, and our purpose is to engage lawmakers in an investigation of what reforms would be most effective, and how to pursue them.
We believe that there is a problem when fewer than 1 in 2 Americans vote- fewer than 2 in 5 in midterm elections.
We don’t claim to know what the answer is. But we know the question, and we know that it and others like it need to be asked.
So today, after you vote (if you’re not planning on doing so, forget this blog and get on it), spare a moment to wonder why it is that you just voted on a Tuesday. And then, even more importantly, think about how we can take this campaign and keep it going throughout the newly elected Congress.
Almost every clip that we have on this site features an important lawmaker expressing their enthusiasm for reform. Let’s hold them to this promise and demand legislative results from local, State, and Federal officials. If we do this, maybe in two years we won’t just be questioning how we run elections and worrying about who may be be excluded, but also celebrating new steps that have been taken towards assuring that no one is.