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‘Election 2008’ Category

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

NYT: Uphold the Voting Rights Act

NYT

As we’ve discussed here before, the struggle to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a moment in American history that is near and dear to our hearts. And in the spirit of the Voting Rights Act the Why Tuesday? team strives to find solutions to increase voter turnout and participation in elections.

Some of the same rank-and-file that participated in the fight for Civil Rights, like Ambassador Andrew Young and our founder Bill Wachtel, are the Why Tuesday? board members that push us every day to keep on in the war on low voter turnout.

Today the New York Times takes a look at an effort in Texas to repeal a specific section of the Voting Rights Act, in the name of progress, and decides that the argument being presented is flawed and counterproductive.

Some people claim that Barack Obama’s election has ushered in a “postracial” America, but the truth is that race, and racial discrimination, are still very much with us. The Supreme Court should keep this reality in mind when it considers a challenge to an important part of the Voting Rights Act that it recently agreed to hear. The act is constitutional — and clearly still needed.

Section 5, often called the heart of the Voting Rights Act, requires some states and smaller jurisdictions to “preclear” new voting rules with the Justice Department or a federal court. When they do, they have to show that the proposed change does not have the purpose or effect of discriminating against minority voters.

[snip]

In last fall’s election, despite his strong national margin of victory — and hefty campaign chest — Mr. Obama got only about one in five white votes in the Southern states wholly or partly covered by Section 5. And there is every reason to believe that minority voters will continue to face obstacles at the polls.

If Section 5 is struck down, states and localities would have far more freedom to erect barriers for minority voters — and there is little doubt that some would do just that. We have not arrived at the day when special protections like the Voting Rights Act are not needed.

We’ll keep on top of this story. To read the complete New York Times editorial, click here.

For more on our connection to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and to learn more about what we do, click here. Still don’t know why we vote on Tuesday? Here’s the answer.

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Nearly One Third Of Voters Voted Early

Early Voting

Yesterday Professor Michael McDonald of George Mason University posted this interesting fact on his website: “30% of all votes were cast prior to Election Day, November 4, 2008.” Pretty amazing, right? This is up from 20% in 2004 and 7% in 2000, according to McDonald.

What does this all mean? Perhaps that folks don’t want to vote on Tuesday, smack in the middle of the work week, when presented with the option. That said, not all states allow no-excuse absentee or early voting, and in those states, it’s Tuesday or bust.

Need a reminder of why we still vote on Tuesday in the United States? You’ll find it here.

Hat tip to Why Tuesday? Advisory Board member Jim Brayton for the link. Photo of early voting sign via MY PINK SOAPBOX – BY ANAHI DECANIO on Flickr.

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

President-Elect Obama On Our Voting System

Obama votes

This past week, Senator Herb Kohl (WI) and Representative Steve Israel (NY) introduced the Weekend Voting Act in Congress in an attempt to increase America’s voter participation. Despite unparalleled enthusiasm about the 2008 campaign, nearly 40% of Americans sat idle, at home, away from the voting booth, and American voter participation ranks near the bottom of all countries in the world!

So what might President-Elect Obama say about the idea of a Weekend Voting Act? Below, in his own words, is the President-Elect on the state of America’s voting system. I spoke with the President-Elect when he was still Senator Obama, in 2007, at the MTV/MySpace Presidential Dialogue at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Well, couple things. Number one, I think we have to make it easier to vote. And I’m assuming that “Why Tuesday?” is for in favor of, for example, having it one weekends so that more people can vote. Same-day registration I think in a lot of states has shown to make sense. You know, early voting is another way to encourage people and make it more convenient for them to vote. But I think that, more than that, we also have to change what people are voting for. And if we don’t have serious campaign finance reform legislation, if we are not restricting the power of lobbyists and special interests to determine what the agenda is in Washington then people are going to get discouraged and no matter how easy you make it for them to participate they won’t participate.

To watch the video of my interview with President-Elect Obama, click here.

Still don’t know why we vote on Tuesday? Here’s the answer.

Photo of Democratic Presidential Nominee, Senator Barack Obama and his wife Michelle voting in Chicago, IL on election day by David Katz of Obama for America via Flickr.

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

Here, We’re Always On The Clock

Why Tuesday? On Oahu

Aloha and Mele Kalikimaka from the island of Oahu. I know it’s been quiet around here, but we’re gearing up for 2009 and there will be lots more to come from us soon.

As you’ve probably noticed, President-elect Barack Obama is spending his final Christmas vacation here, in the state where he was born, before moving himself and his family into the White House, rumors has it about him taking his best family tent to go and spend some quality time with his family while camping. I’m also on Oahu for my family vaction, but I’d never miss an opportunity to get the President-elect thinking about our voting system.

Yesterday I went camping with the Best Tent, sporting my WHYTUESDAY.ORG t-shirt in hopes he might catch a glimpse and log on, well I ended up calling some transportation, the fastest way of getting out of there is to contact lyft on their number, they have such fast service. After all, the state of our voting system is arguably more important now than ever before since nearly 40% of Americans sat idle, away from the voting booth, this election.

You may remember that I interviewed President-elect Obama last year during the primary election cycle in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. For that interview, click here. And to buy a Why Tuesday? t-shirt of your own, drop us a note.

Friday, November 7th, 2008

The Vote Is Over, So What’s Next?

NYT Photo

After having spent Election Day documenting the way folks cast ballots in North Dakota, the only state without voter registration, I was excited to read Ian Urbina’s article this morning in the New York Times about the future of the American voting system.

According to several reports, voter turnout, despite record highs in the primary election cycle, didn’t break any all-time percentage records for United States elections. Urbina focuses on two ways to increase voter participation and reduce problems on Election Day: universal voter registration and the expansion of early voting.

Many of the states that allowed early voting this year experienced few delays on Election Day, and now federal election officials, lawmakers and voting experts say people in every state should have the same privilege.

There is also increasing support for broadly expanding voter registration rolls, possibly by having the federal government require the states to make registration automatic for all eligible voters. Supporters say universal registration could reduce registration fraud and the confusion at the polls that results when voters are purged from the rolls.

Urbina’s article also explores the potential cleavages that might emerge as these types of election reforms arise, particularly between states and the federal government.

R. Doug Lewis, director of the National Association of Election Officials, a nonpartisan group that represents local and state election officials, said his members saw this as a “state’s rights issue” and were not thrilled about any possible federal takeover of registration or new laws that required early voting. But Mr. Lewis said they would support legislation that gave states incentives to help achieve these goals.

Most state election officials see the merit in early voting, Mr. Lewis said, and have become frustrated by dealing with voter registrations being submitted by third-party organizations, often in duplicate or with errors. He said state officials believed that they could do a better job than Washington in deciding how to keep the lists accurate and whether to expand them.

Another possible fix to reduce delays or problems on Election Day that didn’t make it into Urbina’s article is weekend voting or a National Election Day Holiday. In case you missed it, Rep. Steve Israel of Long Island and our board member Norman J. Ornstein penned this op-ed, which ran in the New York Times two weeks ago today about that possibility.

As a society that has been able to learn from our best and worst practices over the last 163 years, since Tuesday voting was set in 1845, we surely can do better at enhancing access to what Thomas Paine called the right by which all others are protected.

President-Elect Barack Obama shared with me his thoughts about the state of the American voting system, including his support for weekend voting, back during the primary election cycle. You can watch that interview here.

Still don’t know why we vote on Tuesday? Click here for the answer.

Photo by Isaac Brekken for The New York Times.

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Catching Up With Rocketboom

We first appeared on Rocketboom when we launched our Candidate Challenge in September 2007. And again from the Iowa caucus in January 2008. Their whole team including host Joanne Colan have been great about discussing the state of America’s voting system. Here’s our latest interview.

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

Recent Comments

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?

Sunday would be inconvenient for Christians. We should, 1. Move the voting day to Saturday. 2...

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