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Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

NYT: A Challenge To Voting Rights

NYT

The New York Times editorialized today their desire for the Supreme Court to uphold Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the portion of the law that makes states with a history of discriminatory voting practices go through a series of checks before changing voting rules in those areas. The election of President Obama, they say, is not reason enough to peel back a law intended to expand and protect the franchise.

The election of the first African-American president last year was an undeniable sign of racial progress. But even that breakthrough cannot ensure that legislative districts will not be gerrymandered, voting rolls purged or election procedures modified at the state and local levels in ways that diminish the rights of minorities. For that, as Congress wisely recognized, we still need the Voting Rights Act.

We’ll stay on top of this. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on this today. We’ve shot a couple of tweets to Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic who will be at the White House tonight for President Obama’s prime time presser. He’s soliciting questions for the news conference. We submitted two, one about election reform generally, and the other about Section 5 of the VRA.

Previously in the NYT:
American Voting System STILL Broken
Voting Rights Act Scaled Back
Uphold the Voting Rights Act
Why Tuesday? NYT Op-Ed: Everyone’s Voting For The Weekend

Monday, January 19th, 2009

A More Perfect Union

Ambassador Andrew Young

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – As with so many people across the globe, today is very near and dear to Why Tuesday?’s heart. This organization was founded in the spirit of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by William B. Wachtel whose father, Harry, was a close friend and advisor Dr. King. So today, we also salute the accomplishments of Why Tuesday? Board members Andrew Young and Martin Luther King, III. (more…)

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Weekend Voting Act Introduced!

U.S. Representative Steve Israel and U.S. Senator Herb Kohl yesterday introduced the Weekend Voting Act in the Senate and the House. In July, Rep. Israel became the first member of Congress to vlog for us (watch the video). In 2006, we met with Sen. Kohl and brought our video camera there, too. (more…)

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Welcome Back, Congress!

Oath Of Office

The 111th Congress was sworn in yesterday in Washington, D.C. (with two exceptions) and it sounds like folks are already getting back to work. Stay tuned here for all things election reform, including the latest on the push for Weekend Voting by U.S. Representative Steve Israel, the only member of Congress to become a Why Tuesday? correspondent, and Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin. Sounds like they’ll be back at it again in 2009.

For some background, read Rep. Israel’s and Why Tuesday? Board Member Norman Ornstein’s New York Times op-ed in support of Weekend Voting.

Photo of U.S. House Oath of Office by U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx on Flickr.

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.

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Texas-Sized Early Voting Turnout

Welcome KTRH morning news listeners in Houston! Even up here in the Big Apple we say everything is bigger in Texas. Well, perhaps not the skyscrapers. And yet, when it comes to early voting that certainly is true.

Moreover, in 2004 over 2.4 million Texans or nearly 30% of voting eligible population voted early. So far in 2008, over 2 million Texans have voted early, quickly approaching 25% of the vote eligible population – and there are still 2 days of early voting left. By all accounts, Texas’ 2004 record early voting turnout will be shattered this year. Look here at Galveston County turnout numbers and Lubbock turnout, for example. (more…)

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?