It turns out that the constitution has nothing to say about voting day, either: largely for reasons of nineteenth-century horse travel (which also lies at the origin of the senatorial “hold”), in 1845 Congress made Tuesday the day that Americans vote for the President; Tuesday was legislated for House elections in 1875; in 1914 it was extended to the Senate. Now we’re stuck with Tuesday voting as well, and in spite of the best efforts of [The New York Times’ Joe] Nocera, Chris Rock, and a group called Why Tuesday?, I will probably have to make time to vote on a work day (as I did yesterday) for the rest of my life. There’s always a constituency for democratic foolishness: for the filibuster, it’s senators in the minority party; for Tuesday voting, politicians who fear high voter turnout. Tuesday voting is a classic unnecessary stupidity, but sometimes, the more stupid a thing is, the harder it is to get rid of it.
Young Elected Officials FTW!
Leave it up to young elected officials to come up with the best ideas!
With voter turnout in the United States worse than most other countries in the world, we’re stoked to hear about the effort led by Wisconsin’s Andrew Londre to get Election Day moved to the weekend so more people can vote.
A La Crosse county board member is leading the latest effort to change federal election law.
Andrew Londre, the county board supervisor for La Crosse County’s district nine, led the effort to submit a petition to the President and leaders of the House and Senate calling for presidential and congressional elections to take place on weekends.
Current election law, passed in 1845, mandates those elections take place on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
The law was passed at a time when the U.S. economy was heavily reliant on agriculture. New sessions of congress would begin in December, after the farming season had concluded, so elections needed to take place beforehand.
Sunday, seen by many as a day of worship, was not considered as an option. Lawmakers felt Monday would be a travel day, allowing voters to commute to their designated polling places, and it was decided the election would be held on Tuesday.
But Londre said Tuesday elections are inconvenient in today’s day and age.
"Tuesday’s a day most Americans go to work," Londre said. "If you’re a student, you’re in class from the morning until the evening."
"What that does is create rush hours," he added. "People create long lines in the morning and after work when they get to the polls and for students in between classes."
Londre and 44 other members of the Young Elected Officials Action Network believe a weekend election, allotting voters a Saturday, Sunday or both days to vote, would both help eliminate the aforementioned rush hours and boost voter turnout.
Right on Andrew!
Reblog to show your support and sign our petition to the President and Congress asking them to support the Weekend Voting Act as well!
Our co-founder, Civil Rights leader Ambassador Andrew Young, speaks (and sings!) on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in advance of President Obama’s remarks today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Our organization was founded in 2005 to honor the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement on the 45th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark piece of legislation recently gutted by the Supreme Court.
We need your support. Join our movement to push for voting rights for all in the United States, 50 years after Dr. King spoke of his “dream.”
Photo via League of Women Voters on Twitter.
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!
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.
On this day in 1845, Congress set the Tuesday after the first Monday in November as Election Day. Why? Absolutely no good reason whatsoever.
Watch this TED Talk for a slightly longer answer, then sign our petition asking President Obama to move Election Day to the weekend so everyone has equal access to the ballot box.
We repeat, SUNDAY. Not Tuesday, like the United States, where voter turnout sucks.
Photo via NBC News.
Whether you voted for the first time, or waited in line for a very long time… by the way we have to fix that.