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.