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‘Weekend voting’ Category

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Quoting Chris Rock on MSNBC

Yes, indeed, I did quote Chris Rock yesterday on MSNBC when talking about our efforts to making voting as accessible, convenient and reliable for all Americans. I spoke with host Thomas Roberts about the Weekend Voting Act and ways the franchise is being restricted this election cycle.

Thomas kicked off our chat with an important question:

Why have the rules around this vote not changed and stuck around so long as modern day society has obviously advanced from having to worry about our harvest and leaving from home on a Sunday night to get somewhere by Tuesday?

To find out my answer, watch the video. (more…)

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Rep. Larson Endorses Weekend Voting

We are honored to fight with U.S. Congressman John Larson in the war on low voter turnout. His office sent out this press advisory today endorsing Why Tuesday? and our efforts to increase voter participation:

HARTFORD — With low voter participation across the nation at the polls this week, Congressman John B. Larson (CT-01), announced today that he supports an initiative to move elections from Tuesdays to the weekend to make it easier for all citizens to do their civic duty.

“As a representative democracy, voting is a fundamental responsibility for all Americans and the system should be as accessible as possible for as many as possible,” said Larson. (more…)

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Thank You, David Broder

David Broder

Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist David S. Broder died today at the age of 81 in Arlington, Virginia. On behalf of our entire team, I offer our condolences to Broder’s family, friends and colleagues.

When I first met our founder Bill Wachtel in 2006 in his office in New York City there were a few things he wanted to show me. After pulling out Why Tuesday? hats and a full-page Why Tuesday? newspaper advertisement, Bill made sure to point out a column Broder had written about weekend voting and the Why Tuesday? movement the year earlier.

Broder’s article was a nod of support to Bill and our co-founder Ambassador Andrew Young and put wind in the sails of our nascent organization. It meant so much to Bill and Ambassador Young then, and still today our team is, and will continue to be, forever grateful. Below is the column in its entirety.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

If Andrew Young has his way, never again will we have a Tuesday election. The former mayor of Atlanta and ambassador to the United Nations wants to switch the nation’s voting to the weekend.

Young is the co-chairman of a newly formed group called “Why Tuesday? Let’s Move the Vote.” A veteran of the civil rights movement, which lobbied for the Voting Rights Act, he came to Washington this week to express his frustration that so few Americans — especially young people — exercise the right to the franchise for which so many of his generation struggled for so long.

Young and William Wachtel, the New York lawyer who founded the organization and is financing it, confronted me with the question in their organization’s name: Why Tuesday? And, as they told me, I had plenty of company in not knowing the answer.

“Most of the elected officials we ask think it’s in the Constitution,” Young said, “that we vote on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. It’s not. It was set by a statute that passed Congress in 1845, regularizing what had been various voting days in different states.”

And why Tuesday? The debates from the time tell us that Tuesday was deemed the most convenient day for what was then a largely rural society. Saturday was a workday on the farm. Sunday was the Lord’s day, not to be profaned with partisanship. But it took a day for many farmers to reach the county seat in those horse-and-buggy times, so Monday was out as well. Tuesday or Wednesday would let them vote and return home in time for the weekend. But Wednesday was market day for many communities, so Tuesday it became by process of elimination.

What was a matter of convenience in 1845 is hardly the same today in our urban society. It is a working day for most Americans, which means that they have to leave early for work (as I did Tuesday to vote in Virginia) or stop by the polling place at the end of their day.

That means, among other things, that polls tend to be crowded in the early morning and the late afternoon and early evening, delaying or frustrating many would-be voters.

Tuesday is also a school day, and since many communities (including mine) use schools as polling places, they either have to cancel classes or arrange for the buses to discharge and pick up students from parking lots crowded with the cars of voters.

All of these problems, Young says, contribute to the low turnouts in American elections. According to Young, the United States ranks 139th of 172 nations in the percentage of eligible citizens voting.

The civil rights champion has enlisted some significant bipartisan support for his effort. Jack Kemp, the former Republican vice presidential candidate, Cabinet member and congressman, has joined former senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey, a onetime Democratic presidential hopeful, in backing the effort.

Young’s goal at this point is simply to stir some discussion of the idea. A bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin to shift voting to the weekend has gone nowhere in Congress.

Young’s group commissioned a poll on the issue of voting time by Republican Ed Goeas and Democrat Celinda Lake, and it found a very mixed picture. On one hand, more than nine out of 10 of those surveyed said they regard voting as an important civic duty and, additionally, believe everything possible should be done to make voting as convenient as possible.

On the other hand, three out of four said they favor keeping Election Day on Tuesday, while only 45 percent said they like the idea of moving voting to the weekend.

The survey found broader support for allowing voting by mail for several weeks before Election Day and for allowing early voting at designated locations with no reason required for casting a ballot ahead of time.

Only one voter in six said he or she had had difficulty finding time to vote because of other commitments. But three out of 10 said they would be more likely to vote if Election Day were moved to the weekend.

That last measure was much higher for some groups that generally lag in voter turnout. Among African Americans, 52 percent said they would be more likely to vote on the weekend; among Hispanics, 48 percent said so, as did an identical 48 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds. Notably high percentages of singles, working women, and residents of Texas and California also said that weekend voting would bring them to the polls.

All of which suggests that Young is right in seeing this as an extension of the civil rights and voting rights efforts.

Photo of Broder on Meet the Press via The Washington Post.

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Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Saturday Voting In San Fran Gets A Boost

San Fran Election Day

Citizens of San Francisco are one step closer to having elections over the weekend. The Saturday Voting Act Ordinance received the required amount of signatures and will be placed on the ballot for voters to say whether or not this idea becomes reality. The San Francisco Examiner has the details:

Ordinances require 7,168 signatures from registered San Francisco voters to make it onto the ballot.

If approved, the first time Saturday voting would occur would be for the November 2011 election, when voters will elect San Francisco’s next mayor.

Alex Tourk, a lobbyist and head of Ground Floors Public Affairs, is the official proponent of the proposed ballot measure.

“San Francisco residents deserve a voting system which corresponds to the schedules and lifestyles of working families. Allowing voting on Saturday would encourage parents to involve their children in the democratic process,” the ordinance says. The measure refers to a nationwide movement known as “Why Tuesday?”

How it would work is the Department of Elections would open up about 400 polling stations throughout The City for voting to occur the Saturday before the election day that occurs on Tuesday.

The measure says Saturday voting would increase voter turnout and make voting more accessible to families. If the pilot program is proven effective, then the measure urges the mayor and Board of Supervisors to figure out how to implement and pay for Saturday voting for future elections.

For more information on the campaign, visit Why Tuesday? San Francisco.

Photo of 2008 Election Day in San Fran by maneo on Flickr.

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

SF Chronicle Supports Weekend Voting

SF Chronicle Building

The San Francisco Chronicle gave our efforts, and those of our friends in the Why Tuesday? San Francisco movement, their vote of confidence recently in this editorial.

A midweek election day made perfect sense in this nation’s agrarian past. Today, Tuesday voting is an anachronism that contributes to abysmal turnout rates, even in a political hotbed such as San Francisco.

As one of the city’s top political consultants, Alex Tourk knows all about the struggle to get voters to the polls. He is initiating a campaign to peel away one more excuse for not voting by adding Saturday as an election day. His proposed ballot measure would provide the first test of the national “Why Tuesday?” movement’s theory that weekend voting would bring more citizens to the polls – and produce the atmosphere of civic engagement that pervades election days in other nations that vote on the weekend.

If San Francisco voters approve this experiment – signatures are now being collected to put it on the November ballot – Saturday voting would be tried in the November 2011 city election. The extra cost would be covered by private donations.

It’s a worthy experiment in democracy. To learn more about the effort, or to request a petition, go to www.whytuesdaysf.org.

Photo of SF Chronicle Building via Flickr.

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Why Tuesday? San Francisco Launches

Exciting news! Our collective hard work to increase voter participation in the United States is paying off!

As you may have read this morning in the New York Times, the grassroots movement Why Tuesday? San Francisco is launching today to create a Saturday Election Day in their city! Their idea is to add a Saturday Election Day to the already-existing Tuesday voting to make voting as accessible and convenient as possible. But they can’t do it without you!

Visit WhyTuesdaySF.org now to find out more about the movement and what you can do to help.

The proposal needs thousands of signatures to make it on the ballot, and they can’t make it happen without you!

Visit WhyTuesdaySF.org now to find out more about the movement and what you can do to help.

In the words of U.S. Representative Steve Israel, who has twice introduced the Weekend Voting Act into the House of Representatives, “the best way to know if this is effective is to go ahead and do it. And if San Francisco can go ahead and do it, it could provide the hard data for the rest of the country.”

Visit WhyTuesdaySF.org now to find out more about the movement and what you can do to help.

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?