Some Democrats in Congress would like that to change, though.
The Hill reports that Reps. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and John Larson (D-Conn.) introduced legislation last Friday that would change U.S. law to allow elections for members of Congress and the president to be held on the weekend. If it were up to them, voters could head to the polls starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday and vote through Sunday at 6 p.m. The rationale? Higher turnout:
Election turnout in the United States has traditionally lagged behind that in other Western democracies. According to a study of participation by political scientist Mark Franklin, American participation in presidential-year elections averages around 55 percent, versus 76 percent for parliamentary elections in France and the United Kingdom, and turnout in the high 80s for countries like Germany, New Zealand and Denmark.
“As a representative democracy, voting is a fundamental responsibility for all Americans and the system should be as accessible as possible for as many as possible. Unfortunately, the system we have now was designed to meet our country’s needs over 160 years ago and it no longer makes any sense. It’s time we stop making people choose between exercising their responsibility to vote and meeting their everyday obligations,” Larson said in a statement.
For opponents, the logistics of the move would be too much to justify it. Additionally, with more states offering early voting options, is voting on a Tuesday even that big of a deal anymore?
Though the debate isn’t new and may not go anywhere anytime soon, it ties into similar discussion that have taken place in the District.
[Continue reading Martin Austermuhle’s post at DCist.com.]