Four days in Iowa and what do you get? A chance to talk to six presidential candidates from both parties about the state of America's voting system, and most agree that it isn't good.
The Why Tuesday Candidate Challenge - our request that all presidential candidates outline their feelings about the extremely low level of American voter participation, why that is, and what they plan do about it - ends today, October 31st. Yesterday I had a chance to catch up with Barack Obama in Cedar Rapids, and on Saturday I chatted with Ron Paul in Des Moines. Both argued that a solid message and policies are one part of how a candidate can help increase turnout, but both also said they support changes in the mechanics of when and how we vote as well. Obama was participating in the MTV/MySpace Presidential Dialogue series at Coe College.
Ron Paul was holding a rally at the Iowa State Historical Museum when we spoke. He at first told me he doesn't have an election reform plan, but then called for an April 15 Election Day holiday and said that he would "argue for" all states to pass laws for early voting. Currently 15 states don't provide that option, and that is how Paul said he'll be voting this time around.
By midnight tonight we expect to have video responses from all but four of the sixteen candidates on our list. America ranks far behind most countries in the world in voter turnout. Who is too busy to respond to this important issue? Check out the Why Tuesday? Candidate Challenge page. You can ask your favorite (or least favorite) candidate to respond by clicking on their picture and sending them a note.
There are more video responses from the candidates and video from the Iowa trip to come. Stay tuned to OffTheBus and Why Tuesday? for more.