Hurricane Sandy has reinforced the fact there is absolutely no good reason whatsoever to vote on Tuesday. I'm not saying there's no reason to vote -- there are countless good reasons to do that. But there's no good reason at all for us to have vote on the day that we do, the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
The United States is the world's most famous democracy, yet we rank near the bottom of all nations in voter turnout. So why, when U.S. Census data says most Americans don't vote because it's inconvenient, do we vote on Tuesday smack in the middle of the week? Because it was -- ironically -- convienent for people that traveled by horse and buggy when the law was set in 1845. No joke.
For seven years I've been a part of Why Tuesday?, a nonpartisan group that wants to move Election Day to the weekend so more people can vote. Next Tuesday, tens of millions of Americans will have their one-and-only chance to cast a ballot.
Unlike President Obama, who was able to vote early in his home state of Illinois, and residents of 34 other states, there is no early or no-excuse absentee voting for those of you living in 15 states. No chance other than on Election Day to cast a ballot. Too bad if you're a single mother or father, student with long hours, or work multiple jobs.
If Hurricane Sandy struck the day before Election Day, instead of a week before it, there would have been millions along the eastern seaboard who live in states with the antiquated option of voting only on Tuesday. Even today, there are questions as to whether some states will be ready to vote in the wake of the storm. Of course, a storm could hit on a Saturday and Sunday if there was weekend voting, so having Election Day on the weekend isn't good enough.
As American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Norm Ornstein, the co-founder of Why Tuesday?, suggested on HuffPost Live, in the absence of a federal blue ribbon commission that deals specifically with disasters and elections, early voting during the week in the run-up to a weekend election is the way to go.
As we head to the polls next week our out-of-date voting system, and the absence of a united, uniform and accessible election process, must not go unnoticed.
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