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WT? Helping DC Vote

Our board member and resident scholar Norm Ornstein has a piece in today’s Washington Post all about increasing Washington D.C.’s voter turnout.

You probably will not be surprised by his first suggestion:

Move Election Day to the weekend.

Here’s what Norm has to say about weekend voting:

As the group WhyTuesday.org has pointed out, the practice of holding elections on Tuesdays stems from an 1845 law meant to accommodate an agrarian society that is long gone. Today, voting on a workday is a burden for most Americans, and it just isn’t necessary. The District is free to move its local elections to the weekend. Ideally, Election Day would be a 24-hour period running from noon Saturday to noon Sunday, to avoid both religious conflicts and the inevitable morning and evening “rush hours” created by voters flocking to the polls before and after work. But if voting over two days is too onerous or expensive, the city could have Election Day on either Saturday or Sunday, with early voting a few days beforehand for those who are away on the weekend or can’t vote on the Sabbath.

To read Norm’s other three suggestions for The District, click here.

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On The Obama Commission Report

Why Tuesday? board member Norman J. Ornstein issued the following statement on today’s report issued by The Presidential Commission on Election Administration:

“We applaud the Commission’s bipartisan consensus on the need to make voting easier and more accessible for all eligible Americans, but believe that many more steps can be taken beyond the Commission’s recommendations. While we favor more opportunities for voting before Election Day, Election Day itself needs to be changed from Tuesday – which reflects an antiquated law enacted in 1845 – to the weekend, which is a vastly more convenient time for voters. We challenge Congress to put its partisan differences aside and act now to bring American elections into the 21st century.”

To learn more about why there’s absolutely no good reason to vote on Tuesday, click here.

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Young Electeds For Weekend Voting

We’re very excited to see a group of over 40 young elected officials sign a petition of their own to Congress in support of moving Election Day to the weekend. According to Wisconsin Public Radio, the group is headed up by La Crosse County, Wisconsin Board Supervisor Andrew Londre.

The letter was delivered to House Speaker John Boehner.

Here’s more from Londre, via WPR:

Londre is spearheading the effort. He acknowledges that it’s an ambitious goal, but he wants to see voting become more accessible.

“There is no good reason whatsoever that we’re voting on Tuesday,” says Londre. “We absolutely need to modernize the way we vote so more people can participate in our electoral process.”

You can sign a petition of your own to Congress and the President to support weekend voting right by clicking here.

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“A Ridiculous Amount of Sense”

We couldn’t agree more with the great shout out to us in the New York Times today by Joe Nocera, who calls for weekend voting and four other election reforms to increase voter turnout. There has been some great Twitter reaction to his op-ed:

Here’s what Nocera had to say:

Move elections to the weekend. Do you know why elections fall on a Tuesday in early November? I didn’t either. According to a group called Why Tuesday?, it goes back to the 1840s, when “farmers needed a day to get to the county seat, a day to vote, and a day to get back, without interfering with the three days of worship.” Today, of course, casting your ballot on a Tuesday is an impediment: lines in urban areas are long, people have to get to work, etc. It is especially difficult for blue-collar workers — a k a Democratic voters — who don’t have the same wiggle room as white-collar employees.

Chris Rock — yes, Chris Rock — has been quoted as saying that this is the reason Election Day remains on Tuesday. “They don’t want you to vote,” he said in 2008. “If they did, they wouldn’t have it on a Tuesday.” Even if you aren’t conspiratorially minded, you have to admit that moving elections to the weekend makes a ridiculous amount of sense.

What do YOU think?

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About Us

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

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I had no idea voting on Tuesday was a thing. I just never took notice of the day of the week. Thanks for sharing!

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