August 16, 2017

Word: End Tuesday voting

Rep Louise Slaughter (D) and Norman Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute

President Trump’s faux commission on voter integrity is all about voter suppression. It is another sign of a disturbing trend in our broken politics and a move to restrict, rather than encourage, the most fundamental pillar on which our democracy has been constructed: the right to vote. At a time when our past strides to increase access to the ballot box are under siege, we must do more to encourage participation in our elections. Eliminating the obstacles Americans face when trying to cast their ballots begins with asking why we vote on Tuesday.

Voting on the first Tuesday after the first Monday is not enshrined in our Constitution. It is an arcane tradition enacted as a law in 1845 to help people in an agrarian society make it to the polls without interfering with Market Day on Wednesday. The challenges faced by Americans in 1845 are not the same as those we face today, and our laws should reflect this.

Long lines in recent elections kept voters waiting more than one or two hours. In some cases, during the rush hours in the mornings and evenings, that wait was much longer. Too often voters are forced choose between going to work, caring for their child or loved one, or voting. No one in a democracy should have to make that decision.

Elected representatives have an obligation to ensure our voting system makes it as convenient as possible for our friends and neighbors to exercise their right to vote. Our democracy will be best served when our leaders are elected by as many Americans as possible, with everyone eligible having a convenient opportunity to cast their ballots.

Weekend voting increases turnout. We don’t have to look far to see its effectiveness. Elections in France are held on a Sunday, and just this year the French saw a voter turnout of 75% of eligible voters going to the polls. In our 2016 presidential election, less than 56% of voters made it to the polls. In 2012, France’s voter turnout was 80%, while U.S. voter turnout was 54%. A Pew Research poll released this year ranked the United States 27th out of 35 of most developed countries in voter turnout. We can and must do better.

1 comment:

Bill Hicks said...

It is more important to give people something to vote FOR than it is to move the date of the vote. That mean the Democrats need to stop running neoliberals whose economic policies only benefit the rich and professional classes. Until that happens, they will continue to lose elections and be the minority party.