Weekend Voting on ABC’s This Week
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012
Welcome to those of you who are viewers of This Week With George Stephanopoulos who made your way here after hearing him talk about us this morning on ABC. The idea of moving Election Day to the weekend may be new to you, but it’s not to Stephanopoulos. In 2008, he endorsed the idea in an ABC News op-ed.
[Rep. Steve Israel, D-NY, and Norm Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute] argue Tuesday voting has depressed voter turnout rates in the US, and unfairly penalizes low-income voters who often choose between having to work and voting… I think Israel and Ornstein raise an important point here. Let’s go to weekend voting.
Today Stephanopoulos was responding to a viewer-submitted question about the status of the Weekend Voting Act, the bill that would move Election Day from Tuesday, where it’s been for 167 years, to Saturday and Sunday in order to increase voter turnout.
Stephanopoulos raised several points we’d like to address when he today said “at least one government study says that the modest increase in turnout weekend voting might bring won’t justify the cost, and also because there are now so many other ways to vote early. 35 states now have early voting or vote by mail.”
The study he was referring to was the study by the U.S. GAO, which we applaud but also take with a grain of salt. That study looked at only a few domestic examples of weekend voting and neglected to look at weekend voting internationally whatsoever (France is voting today, Sunday, at extremely high rates). As for the costs, we believe that the cost to our nation is far higher to have perennially low voter turnout than a modest increase of the costs of administering our elections.
With regard to the 35 states that have some form of early voting: we think that’s great. But we don’t believe the millions of American voters living in the 15 other states should suffer because many of us have convenient voting options. In those 15 states, voting is still Tuesday-or-bust, which is simply unacceptable.
Thanks to ABC, This Week and George Stephanopoulos for brining the Weekend Voting Act to a national audience. You can join us and ask Congress and the President to support the bill by signing our petition.