Why Tuesday?

Get Involved

‘Primary schedule’ Category

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

G.O.P lateset to put foot down on early primaries

Just days after the Democratic party sounded alarm about the increasingly-earlier primary election schedule, the Republican party followed suit. The Republicans and Democrats have both now threatened not to seat delegates at national conventions of states which plan to hold primary elections ahead of party-imposed start-dates. Click below to see why Marc Santora at the New York Times explains why that might not mean much.
(more…)

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Democratic party steps into primary election tango

Add the national Democratic party to the debate over the primary election calendar. The party said today that Florida will lose its delegates to the party convention if state officials don’t agree to hold their primary after February 5th, per national party rules. Other states might face similar penalties if they decide to schedule elections before then, a situation a party official calls potential “chaos.” As we’ve reported, this game of political bumper cars may help states get more attention from candidates, but others say it’s not doing much for the nation’s voters as a whole. The rundown from the AP is after the jump.
(more…)

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

Primary schedule is “game of political bumper cars”

In April, we told you that NYC Mayor (and possible presidential candidate) Michael Bloomberg called for a presidential primary election calendar determined by the federal government. The problem, he said, was that the competition between states to be first was hurting the country as a whole.

“We should come up with a policy from a federal point of view and not let each state do it,” he said. “Because there’s no coordination and nobody’s focusing on what’s good for the public and good for the country in national elections; they’re only focusing on what’s good for the state.”

Recently, the Detroit News called the primary tango a “game of political bumper cars.” Here is the latest in this drama from today’s Boston Globe:

Michigan appears poised to crash the party of early states seeking to influence the 2008 presidential nominating process, leapfrogging the other interlopers, Florida and South Carolina, and further scrambling the electoral calendar.

If leaders of Michigan’s political parties reach agreement, as early as tomorrow, on joint Jan. 15 primaries, New Hampshire and Iowa, the traditional leadoff states, would be forced to set earlier contests to preserve their coveted status.

The article goes on to reiterate what Mayor Bloomberg was talking about in April:

The front-loaded schedule, most political analysts agree, makes it even more important for candidates to raise large sums of money, tends to help established front-runners, and makes it much more difficult for a lesser-known candidate to break out from the pack.

Harvard professor Thomas Patterson’s fix to this mess is to shorten the primary calendar, by starting it in mid-April “with a string of five state contentests spaced a week or two apart, followed by a month-long interval that would lead to a single day – Ultimate Tuesday – on which all forty-five remaining states would ballot.” The Washington Post reported on August 17th that a regional primary system – one that Patterson discusses in his book The Vanishing Voter: Public Involvement in an Age of Uncertainty – is being advocated in congress by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT). Text from the Washington Post article is after the jump.
(more…)

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Nationwide primary day wins in a survey

Megan Thee reports this morning in the New York Times that three quarters of Americans polled by the Times and CBS support reforming the ever-expanding election calendar by holding one nationwide primary day. She writes:

As many states continue to jockey for early dates in the presidential nominatinon process, most American voters would like to establish a single national primary day […]

[snip]

Voters in the West, where states have historically held their presidential primaries later in the season, are particularly supportive of creating a single day on which the whole country would select the nominees.

Half of the voters surveyed said states like New Hampshire and Iowa, which have early nominating contests, have too much influence on who wins each party’s nomination.

Voters in the South, a region not represented in the earliest voting, are more negative about New Hampshire and Iowa than are those from regions that are represented earlier in the process.

Sunday, April 8th, 2007

NYC Mayor Bloomberg: it’s time to change the way we vote

Bloomberg

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a potential independent candidate for president, Friday called on the federal government to come up with a new schedule for presidential primary elections because of what he says is a lack of coordination that is disenfranchising some voters. From the AP:

Primaries have been leapfrogging earlier and earlier nationwide over the past two decades. In 1980, only one state held a primary or caucus by the end of February, and by next year, that number could grow to more than 30.

[snip]

[Bloomberg] said one problem is that small states with early primaries get loads of attention and therefore have a disproportionate say in picking the candidates, while their populations are “not really very representative.”

In many years, by the time the later states have their contests, the candidates are already chosen, he said. But for 2008, with so many primaries being moved earlier and closer together, clear front-runners may not emerge right away and those with later primaries may end up having a greater influence.

The schedule should be reevaluated and set by the federal government, he said. Others have floated similar overhauls, such as a single national primary day, but those ideas have not gotten off the ground.

“We should come up with a policy from a federal point of view and not let each state do it,” he said. “Because there’s no coordination and nobody’s focusing on what’s good for the public and good for the country in national elections; they’re only focusing on what’s good for the state.”

For a good overview of proposed changes to the election calendar, have a read of Tom Patterson’s The Vanishing Voter: Public Involvement in an Age of Uncertainty. Patterson’s solution to the lack of coordination that Bloomberg is talking about is to shorten the primary calendar, by starting it in mid-April “with a string of five state contentests spaced a week or two apart, followed by a month-long interval that would lead to a single day – Ultimate Tuesday – on which all forty-five remaining states would ballot.” He also suggests making Election Day a national holiday.

No word on how Bloomberg feels about changing Election Day, or whether he knows why it is we vote on Tuesday. If you run into him, let us know. To hear his comments about the primary schedule, click here to listen to his weekly radio program.

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?