Should Election Day be on a weekend? | The Tylt
Senator Jack Reed is introducing legislation that would move Election Day from the first Tuesday of November to the first full weekend of the month. Reed claims Tuesday voting is "an outdated, arcane practice" and holding Election Day on a weekend would "enhance participation in our democracy." But others argue that shifting Election Day to the weekend would create more problems than it would fix, and we should stick with Tuesday voting until we find a better solution. What do you think? 🗳️
Should Election Day be on a weekend?
Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed is introducing legislation that would move Election Day from the first Tuesday in November to the first full weekend of the month. Reed argues there is no logical reason Election Day should continue to be on a Tuesday, and doing so depresses voter turnout.
The Tuesday designation goes back to the mid-19th century, when Congress decided to standardize federal Election Day throughout the country, and chose a day that was most convenient for farmers — then traveling by horse and buggy — to make it to the polls
Tuesday voting is an outdated, arcane practice that stands in the way of greater voter participation. Congress set Tuesday as Election Day in 1845 because it was the easiest day for farmers back then, but Tuesday voting has no such societal benefit today.
Reed's bill, the Weekend Voter Act, comes in part as a response to President Trump's Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which many Democrats believe aims to strengthen voter suppression.
But not everyone is convinced that weekend voting will actually encourage voter turnout. Richard Simon argues in the Los Angeles Times while holding Election Day on the weekend "seems like a good idea," it would increase costs and make staffing the polls more difficult.
...the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, has found challenges to the proposal. It could be difficult to find workers to staff polling places on weekends and locate replacements for some of the usual voting sites like churches.
A GAO survey of election officials...found concerns about the challenge and cost of securing ballots and voting equipment over the Saturday night of a weekend election. Recruiting polling workers could be another problem.
Simon concluded that it is "unclear" whether weekend voting would actually increase voter turnout, and the myriad of new challenges that could arise may actually make things worse.
Many still push for weekend voting as a common sense solution to the issue of voter turnout.
OK folks - there's no reason that we keep our elections relegated to Tuesdays. We need to modernize and move to weekend, similar to France.— Margaret Wallace ♕ (@MargaretWallace) May 7, 2017
But some are skeptical of weekend voting due to the new challenges it would create.
1/Have you figured the cost of paying city/state employees overtime for work on weekends? and the cost of opening public bldgs on weekends?— Theresa (@terrihall713) September 21, 2017
And others believe weekend voting doesn't go far enough, and the U.S. should instead make Election Day a federal holiday.
It should be a National Holiday so that people can have the day off to vote. Many U.S. citizens work weekends.— dee davidson (@deedeeknowit) September 20, 2017