Sending Office: Honorable Louise McIntosh Slaughter
Sent By:
jack.spasiano@mail.house.gov

Increase Voter Turnout – Cosponsor the bicameral Weekend Voting Act

 

Cosponsors (84): Adams, Barragan, Beyer, Sanford Bishop, Blumenauer, Boyle, Butterfield, Carbajal, Carson, Castor, Cicilline, Katherine Clark, Yvette Clarke, Lacy Clay, Clyburn, Cohen, Conyers, Cooper, Cummings, DeFazio, Delaney, DeLauro,
DeSaulnier, Dingell, Ellison, Eshoo, Evans, Foster, Gabbard, Gallego, Garamendi, Green, Gutierrez, Hastings, Higgins, Huffman, Jayapal, Jeffries, Hank Johnson, Kaptur, Kennedy, Kihuen, Langevin, Larson, Lee, Lewis, Lieu, Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Sean Patrick
Maloney, McCollum, McGovern, McNerney, Meeks, Meng, Moore, Nadler, Napolitano, Holmes Norton, O’Rourke, Pallone, Payne, Plaskett, Pocan, Polis, David Price, Raskin, Richmond, Rush, Schakowsky, Bobby Scott, Sewell, Shea Porter, Adam Smith, Speier, Swalwell,
Takano, Bennie Thompson, Tonko, Veasey, Velazquez, Wasserman Schultz, Watson Coleman, Yarmuth

Senate Cosponsors (7): Jack Reed (lead sponsor), Sherrod Brown, Al Franken, Kirsten Gillibrand, Angus King, Amy Klobuchar, Ed Markey, Sheldon Whitehouse

Supporting Organizations (4): Common Cause, Communication Workers of American (CWA), AFL-CIO, WhyTuesday

Dear Colleague,

Have you ever wondered why we vote on Tuesday?

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. Tuesday was selected for its comparative convenience because it was designated a “court day” and the day in which
land-owners would be typically in town to conduct business. But times have changed, and Tuesday voting doesn’t make sense anymore. That’s why I’ve introduced the Weekend Voting Act.

If enacted, the Weekend Voting Act would move Election Day to the first Saturday and Sunday after the first Friday in November in every even year for elections of Representatives and Delegates to Congress, and in every fourth year for the election
of President and Vice President.

Click here for an Op-Ed in USA Today published this August in support of the Weekend Voting Act.

Today, most polls are open only 12 hours (from 7am to 7pm) for one day during the work week. Long lines in recent elections kept voters waiting longer than one or two hours and to often voters are forced with the choice of having to work and voting. By instituting
weekend voting it would make it easier and more convenient for Americans to exercise their right to vote, would help reduce long lines at polls, and increase voter turnout which the United States has trailed many developed countries in over a long period of
time.[1]

The Weekend Voting Act will also provide relief for those individuals who feel they need to vote early due to time, work, family, or other constraints. While early voting has been instituted in some states to increase voter participation and turnout, it
can backfire on individuals as evidenced in the recent special election in Montana, after reports surfaced that then candidate Greg Gianforte body-slammed a reporter. Mr. Gianforte’s actions came the evening before election day and resulted in a number local
newspapers pulling their endorsements of Mr. Gianforte, as well as Mr. Gianforte being charged with misdemeanor assault. However, prior to election day, more than half of total ballots had been cast early. This put many voters in the unfortunate position of
wanting to change their vote after submitting their ballot which under Montana state law is not allowed.

A recent OpEd in the New York Times by Tom Nichols, a National Security Affairs Professor at the Naval War College and former Republican aide in the U.S. Senate, sheds light on how early voting had a detrimental effect on the special election in Montana
– Now Montana Knows Why Early Voting Is Bad.

Click here for a recent article from the Boston Globe regarding the recent French election in May,
held on a weekend.

Click here for a recap of John Oliver’s ‘Last Week Tonight’ segment on why voting happens on a Tuesday.

Our democracy will be best served when our leaders are elected by as many Americans as possible. Please contact Jack Spasiano in my office at (jack.spasiano@mail.house.gov) for additional information or
to be signed on as an original cosponsor.

 

Sincerely,

 

Louise M. Slaughter

Member of Congress

 

Endorsements of Weekend Voting and H.R. 1094:

Martin Luther King, III, President, WhyTuesday: “Election Day was chosen in 1845 to accommodate our farmers, and 172 years later census after census cites the inconvenience of voting on Tuesday as the most prevalent reason people say
they don’t vote; so, I tip my hat to Congresswoman Slaughter and the extraordinary list of co-sponsors and our friends at Common Cause for lending their support to finally upgrading our broken voting system.”

Former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, Chairman WhyTuesday and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Drum Major Institute: “Common-sense solutions, like the one Congresswoman Louise Slaughter put forth, are what made the civil rights
movement successful. When citizenship is put ahead of partisanship, society moves forward; so, I applaud Congresswoman Slaughter in embracing what is clearly a common-sense solution to making it easier for all Americans to vote.”

Norman J. Ornstein, Resident Politics and Public Opinion Scholar, American Enterprise Institute: “We have an obligation to do everything we can to make voting easy for eligible Americans. Moving elections to the weekend is a simple and
straightforward way to do just that, and to help millions of working Americans who want to exercise their constitutional right and duty”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “I want to thank Why Tuesday? for focusing on the critical issue of election reform because I do believe our voting system is broken… We shouldn’t be holding our elections on a workday when so many
people can’t get to the polls because they do have to be at work.”

Senator Al Franken: “I think voting on the weekend is a great idea, even though that means standing up to the powerful Tuesday lobby.” 

Senator Debbie Stabenow: “You know, that’s been like that forever and there’s no good reason. It ought to be on a weekend. In Texas…people can vote any time within a week. It’s all just choice, and I think it [voting on Tuesday] makes it
much harder for people that are working…We want to make it easier for people to vote.”

Former Senator Bill Bradley: “Move Election [Day] from Tuesday to the weekend. It would allow parents to take their children to the polls and inculcate in them the habit of being a citizen and voting. It’s common sense.”

Rep. Jim Clyburn: “Strong voter turnout is essential to a healthy democracy. Yet, U.S. voter turnout is consistently among the lowest of all established democracies. Instead of spreading blatant falsehoods to disguise a cynical strategy
to prevent people of color from voting, Republicans ought to be removing barriers to the ballot box and encouraging greater participation in our electoral process.  The Weekend Voting Act would do just that and I’m pleased to be an original cosponsor.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell: “With Election Day always being on a Tuesday, too many Americans are forced to choose between going to work and voting, we should be encouraging every eligible voter to participate in our democracy with as few barriers
as possible. Our democracy is healthiest when voting is easily accessible to all.”

Rep. Paul Tonko: “Each year millions of Americans face the daunting challenge of juggling weekday work and family schedules to exercise their Constitutionally-guaranteed right to vote. An engaged citizenry with access to the voting booth
is the cornerstone of our system of government. This visionary legislation would empower voters, not lobbyists and corporations, to hold government accountable and ensure we are democracy of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Rep. John Larson: “Our nation is stronger when more Americans have the opportunity to vote. Tuesday voting is an antiquated relic from a time when we were an agrarian economy that makes voting more difficult for those who can’t take time
off of work or school. Weekend voting is a common sense measure to ensure greater participation in our democratic system of government.”

 


[1] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/05/15/u-s-voter-turnout-trails-most-developed-countries/

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Civil Rights, Elections, Judiciary

Related Bill Information

Bill Type: H.R.
Bill Number: 1094
Special Note:

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