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‘Existing laws’ Category

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

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.

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

FOX News Was Here

Right now on the front page of FOXNews.com there’s a story by Judson Berger based in part on the blog post I wrote yesterday about the Obama campaign’s call to off take work or school on Election Day. A screen cap is below.

FOXNews.com

Berger speculates that Obama’s ad “might help rekindle a debate over whether Election Day should be made a national holiday or moved to the weekend as a way to boost voter participation.” Even so, he didn’t have much luck getting an answer from either campaign about the candidates positions on our voting system.

Neither Obama’s nor McCain’s campaigns would comment on whether the nominees actually support holding Election Day on a holiday or weekend.

Not to worry. During the primary election cycle, I spoke with both Senators Obama and McCain about their feelings about our voting system, and what they think we can do to increase voter participation. Click here for my interview with Senator Obama. Click here for my interview with Senator McCain.

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

NYT Rips Voting Machine Bill

NYT

An election reform bill (S. 3212) sponsored by Democratic California Senator Dianne Feinsten and Republican Senator Robert Bennett of Utah was panned by the New York Times this morning in an editorial. The Times says election reform is indeed necessary, but not in the form put forth in this bill. Here’s a quick look at the Times’ POV:

Voters cannot trust the totals reported by electronic voting machines; they are too prone to glitches and too easy to hack. In the last few years, concerned citizens have persuaded states to pass bills requiring electronic voting machines to use paper ballots or produce voter-verifiable paper records of every vote. More than half of the states now have such laws.

There is still a need for a federal law, so voting is reliable in every state. A good law would require that every vote in a federal election produce a voter-verifiable paper record, and it would mandate that the paper records be the official ballots. It would impose careful standards for how these paper ballots must be “audited,” to verify that the tallies on the electronic machines are correct.

For the complete editorial, click here.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: As we constantly mention here, election reform shouldn’t just be about looking at the ways we vote, but the day we vote as well. In 2006, we caught up with Senator Feinstein in California to talk to her about why we vote on Tuesday. Do you know why? To see whether Senator Feinstein knew the answer (most members of congress don’t know) check out this video. If you don’t know the answer, you can find it right here.

ABOUT US: If you’re new here, we invite you to learn more about our nonpartisan mission at Why Tuesday? including who we are and what we do.

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

Why Tuesday? on MobLogic.tv

In late June I first had the opportunity to meet Lindsay Campbell and her colleagues from the CBS Interactive news vlog MobLogic.tv at Personal Democracy Forum 2008 in New York City. We chatted briefly about voter participation and it made it into the July 4th episode of MobLogic.

Later that week I headed from Midtown, NYC to the streets of NoLita, NYC to check out their base of operations and talk more with Lindsay about the state of our voting system, what we do here at Why Tuesday?, and how it’s making election reform an issue our elected officials cannot afford to avoid. Check it out, and follow them on Twitter. And follow us on Twitter while you’re at it!

And one more thing — if you’re new here, meet our latest correspondent, U.S. Representative Steve Israel, sponsor of the Weekend Voting Act in the House of Representatives. Well, two more things. Why do we vote on Tuesday? Here’s the answer.

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

U.S. Rep. Becomes Why Tuesday? Correspondent

U.S. Representative Steve Israel (D-NY) and I sat down yesterday in Washington, D.C., and he soon thereafter became the first member of Congress to report as a Why Tuesday? correspondent! Watch the video for our chat, and his report. (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

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?