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Thursday, December 1st, 2011

VIDEO: Voting Is What’s Trending

I stopped by the Los Angeles studio of What’s Trending, when else, this Tuesday, to talk with host Shira Lazar about who we are and what we do. The video of my appearance below. Douglas Sarine recaps my visit:

With the 2012 presidential race revving up, What’s Trending asked Jacob Soboroff of Why Tuesday to stop by the studio and a talk about the state of politics online.

We started off by finding out a bit more about the Why Tuesday organization and their goal. “I think that eventually, we might be able to move election day to the weekend, so more people can vote,” Soboroff suggested. (more…)

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

‘No Brainer Award’ For Weekend Voting Act

U.S. Capitol

Ezra Klein, the blogger and columnist for the Washington Post, has bestowed upon the Weekend Voting Act, the bill in Congress which would move Election Day to Saturday and Sunday from “the Tuesday after the first Monday in November,” his first-ever “No Brainer Award.” We are thrilled the act, which we’ve covered here extensively, got the nod from Ezra. Here’s what he had to say:

This column is usually about the Big Issues. Health-care reform. If you have any problems with health such as stress buy kratom online The deficit. The debt ceiling. The grand, Ragnarok-level clashes (yes I just saw ‘Thor’) between the two parties.

But not today. Today, I want to introduce the No-Brainer Awards: a roll call honoring some of the best legislative ideas you won’t see leading the evening news. These thoughtful bills and responsible reforms aren’t polarizing or sweeping, which you’d think would make it easier for them to pass. But for many of them, the absence of partisan passion means they never make it to the front of the congressional agenda. So let’s give them a push.

[snip]

The Weekend Voting Act: Ever wondered why Election Day always falls on a Tuesday? It dates to 1845, when Congress was trying to find a convenient day for a largely agrarian society to vote. It took many voters a day or so to travel into town, and a day to travel back out, and it was important for everyone to be home on Sunday, as that was the Lord’s day. So Tuesday seemed like a good compromise. And maybe, in 1845, it was. But in 2011? It looks less like a compromise and more like a conspiracy.

“They don’t want you to vote,” Chris Rock said. “If they did, we wouldn’t vote on a Tuesday.”

Rep. Steve Israel and Sen. Herb Kohl have a bill that would move Election Day to the first full weekend in November — two days when most Americans don’t have to work, drop their kids off at school or rush home to prepare dinner. A compromise, in other words, that fits the economy in 2011 rather than the economy in 1845.

We couldn’t agree more. For more about who we are and what we do here at Why Tuesday? click here. You can read Ezra Klein’s complete blog post at the Washington Post.

Photo of the U.S. Capitol katieharbath on Flickr.

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

NY Mag Q&A: Why Vote Tuesday?

Ballot Stub

Happy Election Day! I spoke with New York Magazine yesterday about the antiquated way we vote in the United States (aka on Tuesday), and today they’re running our chat as a Q&A on their front page. Some highlights are below:

In a nutshell, explain why we vote on Tuesdays.

The really short version is there’s no good reason in 2010. And the little bit longer version is because of an antiquated law meant to make voting convenient for the agrarian society of 1845 when the law was passed. At that time, we traveled by horse and buggy. It would take a day or longer to get to the county seat to vote, a day to get back, and you couldn’t vote on days of religious observance, so the weekend was out. Wednesday was market day, so by process of elimination Tuesday became the most convenient day.

It strikes me that we no longer have the same concerns that they had in 1845.

I do not travel often by horse and buggy, and I don’t think that many other people do today either. So what we’re saying is, just like when your computer starts to run slow, you update your operating system, because there’s no point in working with an old system, and our voting system needs an upgrade, we need to go to a voting system 2.0. There’s absolutely no point in voting on a day and in a way that was set for the United States when slavery was still in existence and there were less than half of the current states that there are today.

So would your preferred alternative be making Tuesday a national holiday, or do you want us to vote on a Saturday? Or all weekend? What would be your ideal situation?

We want to start a national dialogue about this issue, election reform, which, I admit, it’s not a sexy issue; it’s a pretty wonky and nerdy issue, but as far as democracy goes, there’s no more important issue. And as far as specifics of the law, in Congress there’s the weekend voting act, which was put forward by Steve Israel on Long island, and that would change Election Day from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November to the weekend, Saturday and Sunday. Mayor Bloomberg has endorsed it, Barack Obama when I spoke to him said he thought it was a good idea, and San Francisco tomorrow is voting on moving Election Day to the weekend.

[skip]

What kind of setup do other Western democracies have? Are they all voting on the weekends?

Among the G-8, we rank dead last in voter participation. And when you look at the list of democracies around the world, where we’re ranked 139th out of 172, the top democracies vote on a weekend, vote on a national holiday — some of them, in fairness, have compulsory voting, where you have to show up — but the majority of them are on a weekend or a national holiday.

It seems like a no-brainer. It’s kind of strange, actually, that it’s taken this long for someone to point this out — why are we voting on a Tuesday?

It’s, frankly, silly.

To read more, the complete New York Magazine post is here. If you haven’t voted yet, you can find your polling place here.

Photo of a ballot stub via my Election Day photo slide show.

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.

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Why Tuesday? On Beet.TV

After speaking at the Personal Democracy Forum last month in New York, I sat for an interview with Andy Plesser of Beet.TV, the website and vlog that explores “the root of the media revolution.” Here’s Andy’s description of how, in his words, our “little video blog powered the agenda for election reform.”

A cheap camera, dogged determination, and a smart video blog strategy has created a national dialogue about election form in the United States.

[snip]

Without press credentials or special access, [Why Tuesday?] managed to tape segments with all of the 2008 presidential candidates and created tremendous attention for the election reform movement.

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?