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Get Out The Why? was a Why Tuesday? initiative which ran from October 2006 to January 2007. To become a Why Tuesday? correspondent today, click here!

Friday, November 10th, 2006

Backstage with the Road Team Once More – ABC’s Los Angeles Studios

Because they are still crazy, Barnett and Jacob once again took in their own hardware for a TV appearance. Jacob uses the chance to give the viewer a little lesson in the tissue of beautiful illusion that TV studios drape over the everyday. Enjoy.

Barnett, your diligence is appreciated.

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

Jake Schroeder: Rep. Todd R. Platts (R – PA 19th) says “Having not been around at that point to say what their exact thought process was…”

Well, the elections are over, but we’re still trucking. Jake Schroeder just sent us this clip of Congressman Todd Platts “answering students questions at York Suburban High School in his 19th Congressional District on November 3rd. Students were free to ask any question ranging from border security to social security. I was able to ask him why we vote on Tuesdays.”

In what might be the longest discussion of participation and its woes we’ve gotten so far, Congressman Platts makes several interesting points. He comes down hard in favor of absentee ballots: he thinks that they represent an important way to make sure that people who are unable to make it to the polls are allowed to exercise the franchise. He disagrees with the idea that weekend voting would help, using an argument often used against “convenience voting,” which is that certain ways of making voting more convenient denigrate the institution (“it’s an excuse”). And, lastly, he points out that a lof these questions can be solved at the State level- something we’re aware of as well, and which has got us thinking.

What are the states doing? For a breakdown of no-excuse absentee balloting and in-person absentee balloting (early voting), click here. It seems that, at the State level, reform is alive and well: 35 states allow people, without any explanation, to vote in-person or by mail over a wide variety of dates ranging from 15-31 days prior to the election; 36 if you count the fact that the majority of Washington votes by mail. How has this affected turnout? What does this mean for the remaining fifteen? To what extent do people in these states know about their options? Stay tuned for more…

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California (R): “We have to make campaigns very positive…”

Props to the Road Team for blagging their way into what looks like a real press conference. As we fall off to sleep watching CNN/Fox/what have you, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stands with his family on a verdant lawn. The Gubernator doesn’t think Election Day is the issue- he thinks a lack of excitement about politics is. A smooth and easy clip to mark the passing of another Election Tuesday…

ps If you can’t hear it, the Governor’s bon mot upon hearing Barnett’s follow-up question is, “Yes, we are moving into the weekend; joy joy!”

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D – CA) and Rep. Jane Harman (D – CA 36th): “A new look for the 21st Century…”

The (unstoppable) Road Team caught up with Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Jane Harman at a rally for Phil Angelides in California. Senator Feinstein, a 14-year veteran and California’s senior Senator, wasn’t ready to come down for or against voting as a holiday. The team caught Congresswoman Harman- whose website is to be commended for its richness in substantive policy issues, by the way- at a better time, however, and she has a ton to say.

The Congresswoman mentions several touchpoints of election reform: public financing, reforming the Electoral College, making Election Day a holiday, and considering the lessons of several countries where she’s observed Sunday elections where it’s a big celebration everyone wears their finest duds. In addition to serving as a testament to the Congresswoman’s awareness of these issues, it’s interesting that once again someone has observed how interlinked many aspects of reform are. One needn’t wait for all the others, but focusing on any one area seems to make it easier to consider improving other aspects of the system.

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

Michael Teigen: Rep. Mike Thompson (D – CA 1st) says “To benefit the agricultural sector…”

Michael Teigen got this clip of Mike Thompson, House Representative for the great state of California. In addition to 18 years of legislative experience, Congressman Thompson is the co-founder and co-chair of the (bipartisan) Congressional Wine Caucus and former co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. In Michael’s words: “Staked him out at the Baywood Country Club in Arcata, California. He first said that he was too busy. Then when attempting to drive away he stopped and let me ask the question.” The shot does inded appear to be from a car. So.

Not only does Congressman Thompson know about Shiraz and the infield-fly rule- he appears to have a pretty keen grasp on why we vote on the day we do. In response to the Congressman’s historically accurate answer, it’s interesting to note- with great respect for those who work in the area- that in recent years the “Agricultural Sector” employed 1.9% of the labor force (2000) and comprised 0.7% of our GDP (2002). The source of these stats is the Economic Research Service of the USDA; you can read more here.

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

How to make a GOTW video happen – some advice from the Road Team

We’ve gotten some good comments on YouTube, and the Road Team was keen to respond to one from lucasderosa:

What you guys are doing is great. Your videos are well done and you handle yourselves well. The coolest thing about what you’re doing is that it shows that politicians aren’t as hard to interact with as one might think. Apparently you dont have to have ties to the press or any special clout to reserve a few minutes of their time, and I think demonstrating that is very important. It shows that anybody can be involved if you’re tenacious enough. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

Also, do you think you could describe the process you went through to contact the people you have interviewed? Was it really as simple as showing up at the event with a camera and trying to get their attention? How difficult was it to get time to sit down with Mr. Kohl? Also, what inspired you guys to put this together?”

To which, our brave Road Team responds:

Thank you so much for your kind words and for checking out GOTW! We can’t take the credit for putting it together, for that you’ll have to talk to Mr. Wachtel and Ambassador Young. But we thank them for doing it just as you thank us! As far as getting the interviews, it’s the luck of the draw. Often times we just show up and wait for the official to arrive. In the case of Senator Kohl and Gov. Vilsack, we put an interview request in with their respective offices after telling them about the project. Just go out there and do what feels natural! While there’s an aspect to this project that some are calling “gotcha journalism,” we really don’t feel that’s the point. And fundamentally it’s for a great cause – increasing voter participation and turnout – so don’t feel guilty if you put someone on the spot!

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?