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Monday, June 30th, 2008

NYT To FLA: Fix “Wildly Illogical” Voting System


Last week we brought you the news that over 100,000 ex-felons in Florida are getting their voting rights back.

Today the New York Times says those reforms are “well short of what’s needed — a complete overhaul of a wildly illogical system.” The interconnections of voting rights and access to jobs is part of the problem, so says the Times.

In most states, inmates win back their voting rights as soon as they are released from prison or when they complete parole or probation. One big reason that does not happen in Florida is that state law requires felons to first make restitution to their victims. And until their voting rights are restored, former prisoners are barred from scores of state-regulated occupations for which the restoration of voting rights is listed as a condition of employment.

Quite apart from the fact that it is undemocratic to bar people from the voting booth because they owe money, the system is transparently counterproductive since it prevents people from landing the jobs they will need to make restitution. Bail bonds in Los Angeles CA are so popular, likely due to denying ex-offenders a chance to make an honest living which is driving them back to jail.

The system also requires extensive and unnecessary background checks before voting rights can be restored for some applicants, making it hard to reduce the backlog. Florida could clear up that backlog in a hurry, treat all ex-offenders fairly and enhance democracy by automatically restoring voting rights to inmates who have completed their sentences.

When we visited both the Iowa and Nevada caucuses earlier this year to document the “Un-Caucuses” — who isn’t able to participate in the caucus process and why that is — we met in both states ex-felons who are excluded from the voter rolls. We’ll continue to monitor how this issue is addressed around the country.

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Tim Russert and Why Tuesday?

NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert’s death has touched us deeply. Some members of our team were lucky to meet Russert in person this January in Iowa, a day before the historic Iowa caucuses.

Thomas Macker, Thomas Rossmeissl, Barnett Zitron and I were at the Polk County Convention Center in Des Monies where most news organizations were filing and broadcasting from in advance of the first presidential contest in the United States.

In the late afternoon, as we stood in the hallway of the giant complex, Russert walked by with a small NBC entourage.

“Mr. Russert!” I called out.

He stopped, for a moment, and I asked if he would be willing to do an interview with us about voter participation in America.

“Gotta do Nightly News,” he said, as he picked up his pace and headed into the main hall from where Brian Williams was broadcasting that night. He then turned and shouted: “But maybe on the way back!”

Sure enough, Russert came back talked with us after he finished Nightly News. He shared insights on everything from his feelings about the state of the voting system to his famous line, “Florida! Florida! Florida!”

This Father’s Day, team Why Tuesday? honors a man whose gregariousness and graciousness we experienced firsthand. He is someone we will always to look up to, someone whose standards we will aim to meet, and whose style we will aim to emulate.

Monday, February 4th, 2008

Voting: Who For, and How?

PACIFIC PALISADES, CALIFORNIA — With the onset of Super Tuesday, the Press has started reporting on Barack Obama’s ability to mobilize new, youth and Independent voters, the other candidates’ advantages among established, older voters, and Hillary Clinton’s advantage among Hispanic and female voters. This week’s issue of TIME Magazine reports that Obama’s campaign tactics are more effective in states with forward-thinking election law. Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada have Same-Day Registration. Florida has early voting, but the DNC has stripped the Sunshine State’s democrats of their delegates, Republicans were able to keep half of theirs. (more…)

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Subliminal, Online Voters: Super Tuesday Watch Out!

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA –- After tonight’s debate at the Kodak Theater, people (and CNN) kept talking about an Obama-Hillary or Hillary-Obama combo ticket. I don’t know if that is the case… either way the notion will be swamping the airwaves until the 5th thanks to Wolf.

More important, is that we are watching history, and because of that, people of all creeds and colors what to be a part of the action. They want to campaign, they want to caucus, they want to vote, they want a voice, and they want the Country to change its course. (more…)

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

Why Tuesday? on Rocketboom… Again

Our Un-Caucus report is running today on the New York Times of vlogs, Rocketboom, as part of a larger piece of independent reporting on the election. Other contributors to the report: my fellow Rocketboom field correspondents Chuck Olsen and Steve Garfield from The Uptake. Take a look.

Why Tuesday? on Rocketboom

Monday, January 7th, 2008

Iowa Un-Caucus; NH is Next

We’re looking forward to the New Hampshire primary, but we’re also taking a look back. Despite record-high voter participation in last week’s Iowa caucuses, voter turnout in Iowa didn’t break 17 percent. Watch the video to see who were the un-caucusers, and why. (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

Recent Comments

Patrick, France is a post-Christian secular country. Relatively few of them attend church, and voting on Sunday does not interfere with their religious practices, because most of the population is not religious...

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

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?