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 Slaughter said, “Having Election Day on a Tuesday is an outdated requirement that simply does not comport with the schedules of modern Americans.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.
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.
If you are African American or Latino, you waited in line to vote longer than anyone else. Today Democrats said in the New York Times they expect President Obama to address election reform in the State of the Union next week.
Evidence shows that early voting increases as Election Day nears — the weekend before Election Day has particularly high turnout. Mandating the availability of weekend voting, as well as both standard business and non-business hours during the week, frees citizens from making a choice between work and voting.
The Brennan Center’s new report, How To Fix Long Lines, on how important weekend voting is to increasing American voter turnout and making sure all Americans have a chance to vote.