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‘Why do we vote on Tuesday?’ Category

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Today’s Lesson: Tuesday Voting

We’re excited to announce that my February 2012 talk at TED Active about our work has been chosen to be a part of the curriculum of TED-Ed, the education initiative from the TED conference. Now students around the country — and the world — will all have a chance to learn the absurd answer to why Americans vote on Tuesday. Here’s the video description from the team at TED-Ed:

Since 1845, Americans have been voting on Tuesdays — but why? In this humorous talk, Jacob Soboroff shares the history of Election Day and shows how voting on a Tuesday affects voter turnout.

It was an honor to take the main stage in Palm Springs this year, and an even greater honor for all of the attendees at the main TED conference in Long Beach to see the talk presented on the main stage there. We’ve got photos from both Palm Springs and Long Beach, so be sure to check those out. (more…)

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Why vote on Tuesdays? No good reason.

Happy Iowa Caucus day! It seems like ages ago we set out to get all of the 2012 presidential candidates on the record about how they’d protect your right to vote. Tonight we’ll find out who will win the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucus. But why vote today, a Tuesday? That’s exactly the question I answer in an op-ed on CNN.com:

The short answer: We vote on Tuesday for absolutely no good reason. This is true especially when you consider the United States, arguably the world’s most famous democracy, has ranked near the bottom of all nations in voter participation for more than half a century. And that’s not because, as Mitt Romney suggested to me last month, we need great candidates to increase voter turnout. Heard of JFK? Reagan? (more…)

Monday, December 5th, 2011

CBS: Time to stop voting Tuesdays?

I was at the CBS News Broadcast Center in New York last week to talk about our push to move Election Day to Saturday and Sunday to increase turnout. I sat down with senior political reporter Brian Montopoli and told him why we think it’s time to upgrade our voting system.

In 2011, coming onto 2012, we will be voting on a day and in a way that was set for an agrarian society 160-something years ago. Frankly it literally is just silly that we’re still voting on this day when so many Americans are working two jobs, don’t necessarily have time to make it to the polls before or after work.

Watch the complete interview and let us know what you think. (more…)

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Another (Quiet) Tuesday Election Day

I voted yesterday in Los Angeles. It was really quiet at my polling place in Silver Lake and — surprise, surprise — city wide. Really quiet. Only 15% 18% turnout according to the Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

Los Angeles Votes

For the record, there is absolutely no reason we are mandated to vote on Tuesday in municipal elections — cities just follow the lead of our national law. Why do we vote on Tuesday again in federal elections? Here’s the silly answer.

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

In Father’s Memory, MLK III Asks “Why Tuesday?”

MLK III At Riverside Church

Forty three years ago last week Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Our group was literally founded to honor and further the work Dr. King and others undertook to ensure passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, because nearly half a century after that law’s enactment, America ranks near the bottom of all nations in voter participation.

Dr. King’s eldest son, Martin Luther King III, is a member of our advisory board and continues to fight for Dr. King’s principles to this day through his work as the chief executive officer of the King Center and vice chair-designate of the Drum Major Institute.

Martin Luther King III penned this blog post for the Huffington Post last week answering the question “What Would Dr. King Do Today?” and the first question he asks is about why we vote on Tuesday.

This week marks the anniversary of my father’s death. Many Americans observe this occasion by looking back at the ideals he fought for and gave his life to advance. I believe we should mark it by looking forward to how much further we can advance those ideals in our own lifetimes.

There is no doubt that America, and in fact the world, are better today in so many ways, thanks in part to our progress in living up to those ideals. We are witnessing peoples across the world throwing off repressive regimes, inspired both by Dr. Martin Luther King’s teachings of non-violent social change and the momentous step America itself took in overcoming our own history by electing a president who once could not even have voted in some of the states he carried. These developments are testament to the power of both my father’s principles, and America’s.

But while we can take well-earned satisfaction in how far we have come, there is still further we can go. In this period between another anniversary of my father’s passing and the anniversary this summer of the March on Washington and the unveiling of the Martin Luther King, Jr., national memorial, we at the King Center in Atlanta and its affiliated policy organization, the Drum Major Institute here in New York City, are launching a national effort asking Americans to consider the following questions:

Have we removed all government-imposed barriers and inequities? While Americans have differing views on the role of government, we all recognize that everyone should be allowed to participate equally in that government, and that equal access to the ballot box is the foundation of all our freedoms. Yet governments across the country still impose requirements that effectively limit many Americans’ ability to vote: The outdated practice of holding elections in the middle of the work week — which stems from an agricultural era — cuts down the ability of many Americans to exercise their franchise. Some jurisdictions exacerbate this problem by closing the polls at an hour that most working people are just getting home from their jobs — if they’re fortunate to work only one. Some politicians are now talking of erecting additional hurdles. With one of the lowest rates of voter participation in the world, shouldn’t America today be promoting voting rather than hindering it?

To read Martin Luther King III’s entire blog post, click here. For more about Why Tuesday? and our mission, click here.

Photo of Martin Luther King III at Riverside Church in NYC via Lindsay Beyerstein on Flickr.

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

In CA, Take A Day Off To Vote, Maybe

CA Flag

Exciting news just announced by friend of Why Tuesday? and California Secretary of State Debra Bowen: if a new initiative makes the ballot and is passed by the voters of California, those of us who live in the Golden State may have the Tuesday after the first Monday in November (also known as federal Election Day) off from work. Here are the details from LAist.

Although our state Elections Code (Section 14000) stipulates that employees must be granted two hours of paid time, at the start or end of their shift, in order to go vote, [initiative backer Roy] Benson believes that making the day a holiday will find more people at the polls. In February, Benson posted to a Facebook group set up to support his initiative: “Election Day a public Holiday – to increase voter turnout, confidence in our election process, a step towards ‘in Order to form a more perfect Union.'”

Here’s the text of Benson’s proposed initiative right now as prepared by the Attorney General:

ELECTION DAY HOLIDAY. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Establishes an Election Day state holiday as the Tuesday following the first Monday in November during even-numbered years. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state costs once every two years of probably less than $20 million. (11-0001.)

Bowen’s office describes the steps Benson must take to move forward:

[Benson] must collect signatures of 504,760 registered voters – the number equal to five percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2010 gubernatorial election – in order to qualify it for the ballot. The proponent has 150 days to circulate petitions for this measure, meaning the signatures must be collected by September 1, 2011.

Here’s the complete blog post from LAist. As you know if you follow us here, San Francisco recently passed a weekend voting law, and Mike Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, supports a similar idea there.

Photo of California flag via Kelzan on Flickr.

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?