Today, we are an urban society, and we all know how hard it is to commute to our jobs, take care of the children, and get our work done, let alone stand on lines to vote. Indeed, Census data over the last decade clearly indicates that the inconvenience of voting is the primary reason Americans are not participating in our elections.
If we can move Columbus Day, Presidents’ Day, and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Holiday for the convenience of shoppers, why not make Election Day more convenient for the sake of voters? First and foremost, it is time to end the deafening silence of good people on this vitally important issue. So we ask: Why Tuesday?
Personally, I would have no problem with this. But I’m not sure it’s going to increase turnout. The political scientist André Blais reviewed a lot of evidence on turnout for a chapter in this book. Here is what he wrote on Sunday voting and “rest day” voting (links added by me):
Unfortunately, we know relatively little about the actual impact of such measures on turnout. Franklin (1996) initially reported that postal (absentee) voting and Sunday voting increase turnout but his subsequent analysis of turnout changes (Franklin 2004) indicate no independent impact. Norris (2004) examines the effect of a variety of rules (number of polling days, polling on rest day, postal voting, proxy voting, special polling booths, transfer voting, and advance voting) and finds no effect….It makes sense to assume that people are more willing to vote when it is easy than when it is difficult. But we still do not know which measures are the most efficient or how much difference they make.
Again, I’d certainly be
amendable amenable to seeing if non-Tuesday voting made any difference. I’m just cautious in believing it would.
[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]