F Yeah Weekend Voting!
The Weekend Voting Act, which would move Election Day from the Tuesday after the first Monday in November to Saturday and Sunday, was reintroduced to Congress this week.
Washington, D.C.— Today, Reps. Steve Israel (D-NY) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) announced legislation to move Election Day from the first Tuesday in November to the first full weekend, thereby making it more convenient for voters and increasing voter turnout.
Rep. Israel said, “Voting should be easy and accessible. This is why, in 1845, Congress decided that voting on a Tuesday made sense. It was the easiest day for farmers in our agrarian society to get to the polls. But times have changed, and Tuesday voting just doesn’t make sense anymore. By moving Election Day from a single day in the middle of the work week to a full weekend, we are encouraging more working Americans to participate. Our democracy will be best served when our leaders are elected by as many Americans as possible.”
Rep. Slaughter said, “Having Election Day on a Tuesday is an outdated requirement that simply does not comport with the schedules of modern Americans. Instituting weekend voting would make it easier and more convenient for Americans to exercise their right to vote, and would help reduce lines at the polls and increase voter turnout.”
The Weekend Voting Act would allow for national polls to be open from 10 a.m. (Eastern Time) Saturday to 6 p.m. (ET) Sunday in the 48 contiguous states. Election officials would be permitted to close polls during the overnight hours if they determine it would be inefficient to keep them open. Reps. Israel, Slaughter, Larson, Clyburn and Dingell are the original cosponsors of the legislation.
Tom Brokaw, YOU ARE THE MAN. Thanks for the Why Tuesday? shout out and the endorsement of weekend voting on Meet The Press this morning!
Today the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a case that will decide the future of the Voting Rights Act, one of our nation’s most crucial Civil Rights era laws. People are rallying today outside the court. I’ll be covering this later today on HuffPost Live.
At one level, as a longtime and strong proponent of making voting easier for all Americans who are eligible, I would love to make Election Day a holiday. Far too many working people are hamstrung on Tuesday; they can vote only before or after work, when the lines are especially long and when people whose livelihoods depend on getting to work on time and getting the hourly pay cannot afford to wait for an hour or more. But adding an Election Day holiday is simply too costly… That is why I helped to found Why Tuesday, an organization focused on informing Americans that the tradition of Tuesday Election Days is not writ in stone or in the Constitution, but was chosen to suit a 19th-century agrarian economy. We believe it makes far more sense to move elections to the weekend.
We must all do our part to make sure our God-given rights are protected here at home. That includes our most fundamental right as citizens: the right to vote. When any Americans – no matter where they live or what their party – are denied that right simply because they can’t wait for five, six, seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying our ideals. That’s why, tonight, I’m announcing a non-partisan commission to improve the voting experience in America. And I’m asking two long-time experts in the field, who’ve recently served as the top attorneys for my campaign and for Governor Romney’s campaign, to lead it. We can fix this, and we will. The American people demand it. And so does our democracy.