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‘Why do we vote on Tuesday?’ Category

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Super Bowl Tuesday 2

Even in Florida, where voter participation was higher than the national average, nearly 5 million eligible voters didn’t vote in the 2008 presidential election. I headed to Tampa to ask a question we’ve asked here before: what if we took our elections as seriously as we take the Super Bowl? Watch the video to see what Florida Governor Charlie Crist has to say about that.

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

President-Elect Obama On Our Voting System

Obama votes

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.

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Talking North Dakota Voting on NPR

Burleigh County, ND

This morning on NPR Weekend Edition I talked about (as I vlogged about earlier) how voters need not register in North Dakota. Listen to my conversation with host Liane Hansen by clicking here.

While you’re at it, NPR’s Robert Siegel and Professor Paul Gronke of Reed College in Oregon discussed the evolution of the American voting system (including Siegel talking about why we vote on Tuesday) on All Things Considered this past Friday. Listen to their conversation by clicking here.

Photo of Burleigh County, ND seal by me via Why Tuesday? on Flickr.

Friday, November 7th, 2008

The Vote Is Over, So What’s Next?

NYT Photo

After having spent Election Day documenting the way folks cast ballots in North Dakota, the only state without voter registration, I was excited to read Ian Urbina’s article this morning in the New York Times about the future of the American voting system.

According to several reports, voter turnout, despite record highs in the primary election cycle, didn’t break any all-time percentage records for United States elections. Urbina focuses on two ways to increase voter participation and reduce problems on Election Day: universal voter registration and the expansion of early voting.

Many of the states that allowed early voting this year experienced few delays on Election Day, and now federal election officials, lawmakers and voting experts say people in every state should have the same privilege.

There is also increasing support for broadly expanding voter registration rolls, possibly by having the federal government require the states to make registration automatic for all eligible voters. Supporters say universal registration could reduce registration fraud and the confusion at the polls that results when voters are purged from the rolls.

Urbina’s article also explores the potential cleavages that might emerge as these types of election reforms arise, particularly between states and the federal government.

R. Doug Lewis, director of the National Association of Election Officials, a nonpartisan group that represents local and state election officials, said his members saw this as a “state’s rights issue” and were not thrilled about any possible federal takeover of registration or new laws that required early voting. But Mr. Lewis said they would support legislation that gave states incentives to help achieve these goals.

Most state election officials see the merit in early voting, Mr. Lewis said, and have become frustrated by dealing with voter registrations being submitted by third-party organizations, often in duplicate or with errors. He said state officials believed that they could do a better job than Washington in deciding how to keep the lists accurate and whether to expand them.

Another possible fix to reduce delays or problems on Election Day that didn’t make it into Urbina’s article is weekend voting or a National Election Day Holiday. In case you missed it, Rep. Steve Israel of Long Island and our board member Norman J. Ornstein penned this op-ed, which ran in the New York Times two weeks ago today about that possibility.

As a society that has been able to learn from our best and worst practices over the last 163 years, since Tuesday voting was set in 1845, we surely can do better at enhancing access to what Thomas Paine called the right by which all others are protected.

President-Elect Barack Obama shared with me his thoughts about the state of the American voting system, including his support for weekend voting, back during the primary election cycle. You can watch that interview here.

Still don’t know why we vote on Tuesday? Click here for the answer.

Photo by Isaac Brekken for The New York Times.

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Catching Up With Rocketboom

We first appeared on Rocketboom when we launched our Candidate Challenge in September 2007. And again from the Iowa caucus in January 2008. Their whole team including host Joanne Colan have been great about discussing the state of America’s voting system. Here’s our latest interview.

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

The Donald Pushes Election Day Holiday (Of Sorts)

Add the CEOs of Borders, eBay, General Motors, Google and Intel, amongst others, to the list of those calling for a pseudo Election Day Holiday on votehour.org. These CEOs are speaking out to “encourage their employees to take an hour on November 4 and go vote.” As we noted here yesterday — and as FOX News picked up from our site — Barack Obama’s campaign is making a similar request of voters: take time off on your busy Tuesday to vote. They’re asking you to “learn why ‘too busy’ is no excuse this Tuesday.” (We beg to differ. Keep reading to find out why.)

Now, here’s the thing. According to the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College, there are 14 states where if you can’t make it to the polls during opening hours on “the Tuesday after the first Monday in November,” you’re out of luck. And yet, will a simple hour off work be enough time for folks who commute to their jobs?Kudos to votehour.org for bringing these CEOs together. It’s brining attention to the first question of many that we like to ask: why the heck do we vote on Tuesday, smack in the middle of the work week, anyways? You’ll find the answer right here.

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?