Our right to vote is under siege. Fight back by ending the Tuesday tradition. We’re no longer a nation of farmers worried about Market Day.
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.
We have made it a priority for decades to identify and support commonsense proposals that would make it easier for more Americans to participate in our elections. That includes the creation of Why Tuesday?, an organization that has championed weekend voting, and H.R. 1094, the Weekend Voting Act. This bill, introduced earlier this year, would establish the first Saturday and Sunday after the first Friday in November as the days to hold elections for president, vice president and members of Congress.