The Best Day to Vote

As a perpetual proponent of incresing voter turnout, I enjoyed considering the story on NPR about Rethinking The Tuesday Vote. I’m not sure when voters would be noticable less busy than Tuesday – especially considering that we would not want the vote to be on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday as each of those days is sacred to one major religion or another. If we ever find an easy way to increase voter turnout that would not cost lots of money we should do it. (I thinkthat changing the day of the week would be easy to implement so long as there is advanced warning.)

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.
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Comments

10 Responses to The Best Day to Vote

  1. Reach Upward says:

    “Too busy” is just an excuse. Changing the day we vote won’t change turnout. We always find time to do the things that are most important to us.

    Look, we already make it easy to vote in advance of the election, but people still can’t find the time to vote. Instead of focusing on window dressing like changing the day of the week we vote, we should focus on addressing the real reasons people don’t vote.

  2. David says:

    I suspected that “too busy” was an excuse but I am still glad that someone is looking at the issue. One thing I wonder about is if we would see an improvement if we made it more difficult to vote. We value the things that we perceive to be important. The higher the threshold to participate the more likely we are to view the activity as valuable. Obviously that idea is not well formed, but is there something we could do to raise the perceived value of civic participation?

  3. Jason Black says:

    I have to agree with Reach – the day won’t make a difference.

    But, for the sake of argument, let’s say it would. What day would you want? If people are too busy on Tuesday, what makes you believe they would be less so on Monday, Wednesday or Thursday? For me (I know I’m not a representative sample of American voters, but still) Tuesdays, on average are about as busy as Wednesdays and Thursdays, while Monday is busier (catching up after the weekend, etc.).

    I don’t see that changing the day would improve anything. I thought the NPR story might mention some arguments in favor, but I heard none. The whole story was spent just pointing out that nothing had ever changed, but gave to reasons as to why it should or what would be better.

  4. David says:

    The story was not a compelling argument, but the idea should make people at least consider the issue. I do agree that I don’t see any day as being noticeably better than Tuesday (and 3 days noticeably worse).

  5. Mark Hansen says:

    I think that to get the voters out, we should make election day the biggest holiday in the year. Rather than have it be a work day, where you have to find a spare moment to slip away and vote, let’s close the banks, close work, and have everyone go vote.

    We should have barbecues and fireworks and have concerts and events that you can only get into if you’re wearing the “I voted today” sticker. I think it could be a true celebration of our freedom and independence.

  6. David says:

    That’s an idea. Maybe we could move voting to July 4th – except that poll workers would not have the day off. Voting would be the best way to celebrate our independence.

    Perhaps a better option would be to move voting to the day ofter Thanksgiving since that’s almost a holiday already – except that it’s a Friday witch is a day of worship for Muslims. It’s also a sacred day for retailers.

    Maybe the best bet would be to vote on Labor Day (although I would change the name to something more fitting like “Constitution Day” – I’ve never liked the name “Labor Day”).

  7. Jason Black says:

    Mark’s got it. But let’s leave the date alone. If we make it a Monday (like Labor Day), it’ll just become part of a three-day weekend full of non-observance – just like Labor Day and Memorial Day are for most people. Keep that same Tuesday, but make it a celebration of a day.

  8. David says:

    Jason,

    I agree with your reasoning about not making it just another three day weekend, I just wonder if we need another holiday – that’s why I was thinking of combining it with an existing holiday.

  9. Mark Hansen says:

    If we were to make it a big party day, I’d recommend moving it a month earlier, so that it would still be a bit nice out.

  10. David says:

    Of course if the weather were not so reliably nice we might get more people going to the polls rather than going to the beach.

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