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Wolf Blitzer Is Into Weekend Voting

Friday, July 18th, 2008


CNN Internet reporter Abbi Tatton today featured the video of the newest Why Tuesday? Correspondent, U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, during the 4PM and 6PM eastern time editions of The Situation Room.

Host Wolf Blitzer sang weekend voting’s praises, agreeing with Jack Cafferty when he said that changing voting “to a weekend is the single best idea I’ve heard in a long time.”

We’ll work on tracking down the video; for now we have the full transcript for you.

BLITZER: On our Political Ticker, have you ever wondered why we vote on Tuesdays? Democratic Congressman Steve Israel of New York asked that question around Capitol Hill, and found basically no one knew the answer. He’d like to change it to weekends.

Let’s go to our Internet reporter, Abbi Tatton. She’s working this story for us.

Abbi, why do we vote on Tuesdays?

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, that’s what Congressman Steve Israel wanted to know, and he went around Capitol Hill asking it, and these are some of the responses he got.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess because once upon a time all the taverns were closed on Tuesday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because people would forget to go to the polls on Monday.

Why would we vote on Tuesday?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe if Easter falls late on a Monday?


TATTON: No. All those responses were wrong. He did actually find someone that knew, and it turned out to be this guy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tuesday, do you have any idea?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, because the old Agrarian Society (INAUDIBLE).


TATTON: Correct. The old Agrarian Society, the least busy day of the week. This was an 1845 act that established the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. November was picked because it was good for farmers, Tuesday because it was a practical travel day. People could start traveling on a Monday.

And Congressman Israel has introduced legislation to change that, to push it to weekend voting, because he says that’s out of date. This would be more convenient.

He’s launched this video in conjunction with the group Why Tuesday? They’re a nonpartisan group who want to reform the voting system.

Don’t hold your breath. This may not happy anytime soon.

On the Senate side, Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin has been introducing this legislation for years. No movement yet — Wolf.

BLITZER: Well, there is a movement, at least in some of the states, to mail in ballots, making it easier. People don’t have to leave work early or skip work all together, wait in long lines.

All right. We’ll watch this story, Abbi, with you. But it’s a good, good question.

Jack Cafferty’s got “The Cafferty File.”

Did you know the answer to that? I didn’t know the answer to that.

CAFFERTY: No. But changing it to a weekend is the single best idea I’ve heard in a long time.

BLITZER: Me, too.

I mean, it’s dumb the way we do it now. Do it — you know, run it over two days on a weekend. Run it from 6:00 on a Saturday morning until 6:00 on a Sunday night. And let everybody vote at once.

Do the same thing with the primaries. And you know that would cost us a lot of money, though, wouldn’t it?


CAFFERTY: If we did all the primaries over one weekend? We couldn’t sell all those commercials.


Sixteen months of primaries for every individual. Cost the boss a lot of bucks.

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Why Tuesday? is a non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2005 to find solutions to increase voter turnout and participation in elections... More

The Answer

In 1845, before Florida, California, and Texas were states or slavery had been abolished, Congress needed to pick a time for Americans to vote... More

Recent Comments

Patrick, France is a post-Christian secular country. Relatively few of them attend church, and voting on Sunday does not interfere with their religious practices, because most of the population is not religious...

Posted by John on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?

In France they last voted on a Sunday. France is despite the Bourbon legacy a largely Catholic country, yet they vote on Sunday...

Posted by Patrick on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?

I think weekend voting would make the most sense, as people wouldn't have tu run home after work or wake up early to hit the polling stations beforehand.

Posted by Zander on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?