Thursday, October 23rd, 2008
Make sure to pick up the Election Week edition of TIME Magazine. Managing Editor Richard Stengel gives us a shout-out in his article “Closing In on Election Day.” Here’s the relevant excerpt:
On Tuesday, Nov. 4, we will be selecting our next President. Here’s my question: Why Tuesday? If your answer was, Because that’s the way we’ve always done it, you’d be right. We’ve been doing it that way since 1845, and the murky reasons for it are that nobody wanted to vote on the Sabbath and voters needed time to travel by horse and buggy. But I’ve long thought–as have many others–that holding an election on a workday is undemocratic and makes it difficult for people to fulfill their signal act of civic participation. Either change it to Saturday, or make Election Day a holiday.
The fact that so many states now allow early voting or no-fault absentee voting is a good thing. But as a nation that is the beacon of democracy, we sure make it hard for people to participate. The American registration system is far more local and decentralized than that of almost any other Western democracy, and we pay a price for it. As Michael Scherer’s story points out, on Nov. 4 a host of problems could arise from issues such as inaccurate registration databases, badly designed ballots and confusing rules. While those problems may not be determinative or alter the result, they could, and the fact that we allocated nearly $3 billion through the Help America Vote Act in the past six years without much improving the system is a scandal. Both Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin and Representative Steve Israel of New York have introduced a Weekend Voting Act, and you can find out more about these issues at WhyTuesday.org and FairVote.org.
For the full article, click here.
Read the complete explanation of why we vote on Tuesday over here.
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Previously: Why Tuesday? in TIME… kinda