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I introduced this new group on Saturday in a diary which explains where the name comes from; a video by the nonprofit, non-partisan organization called Why Tuesday? The video explains that Tuesday was chosen as the day we vote in an 1845 law so that each voter had time to ride to the county seat in his horse and buggy order to be able to vote.

Yes, I said "his" horse and buggy because originally only white men could vote. In fact, as Maureen Dowd pointed out in her column Romney Is President on Saturday:

Team Romney has every reason to be shellshocked. Its candidate, after all, resoundingly won the election of the country he was wooing.

Mitt Romney is the president of white male America.

If our country had not grown and changed, then only white men who owned land would have been allowed to vote in the election, and Romney would have been elected the 45th president of the United States. But we have changed and if this election proved anything, we need further change to protect the rights of all Americans to vote.

At the end of Why Tuesday?'s video, Jacob Soboroff said:

Here's the cool part. Because we asked this question, Why Tuesday?, there's now this bill, the Weekend Voting Act, in the Congress of the United States of America. It would move Election Day from Tuesday to the weekend, so that duh, more people can vote. It has only taken 167 years, but finally we are on the verge of changing American history.
Unfortunately, we do not have reason to celebrate because the bill has a ZERO percent chance of passing. And as many pointed out in the comments of my original diary, changing when we vote from Tuesday to Saturday and Sunday is not necessarily the solution to the myriad of problems we have in the voting process in today's America. I learned something else about why we vote on Tuesday that I didn't know when I wrote the diary. Thanks to rugbymom questioning if the reason we vote on Tuesday was correct, I did further research. Not only was it correct because voting was done at the "county seat" not the nearest town, but the reason one nationwide day was chosen was to stop voter fraud! Yes, even in 1845 voter fraud was a problem.
In its infancy, the US had no set day for national elections. From 1792 until 1845, Congress allowed states to hold their polls any time in the 34 days before the first Wednesday in December, which was the day the Electoral College met.

Eventually fraud became rampant. Political parties organized gangs of supporters to move from state to state to vote in close elections. So in 1845, Congress established a uniform Election Day for the offices of president and vice president – the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November.

Election Day 2010: Why we always vote on Tuesdays

Unless you live in a swing state, you may not have any idea what voters in swing states were subjected to. As many of you who have kept up with my diaries already know, during the last four weeks of the election I phone banked, making over 4,000 calls and actually had conversations with 1200 to 1500 people. I learned a lot from those voters. The majority of people were sick and tired of receiving all the phone calls. As one woman said (paraphrasing):
I'm a Democrat. I'm voting a straight Democratic ticket. I know who to vote for. I know what to do about the Supreme Court justices. I know how to vote on the amendments. Please stop calling me.
What that woman didn't realize or understand was that there were a lot of voters who were not as informed as her, and the only way we could identify those uniformed voters was by calling all the voters we could in Florida. Other informed voters did not react with anger, but offered a big "Thank You" for volunteering. And so the most important conversations I had were with people who did not have all the facts. Many told me that they weren't voting because they couldn't find their voter information card. I was able to tell them that in Florida, you do need to show identification, but not your voter information card.
When you go to the polling place to vote, you will be asked to provide a current and valid picture identification with a signature. Approved forms of picture identification are: Florida driver's license; Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles; United States passport; debit or credit card; military identification; student identification; retirement center identification; neighborhood association identification; and public assistance identification. (Section 101.043, F.S.) If the picture identification does not contain a signature, you will be asked to provide an additional identification with your signature.
For me, the most heartbreaking part of the election here in Florida was seeing the long lines of people waiting six to nine hours to exercise their right to vote. Now that the 2012 election is over, I'm still fired up and ready to go! I think one of the most important contributions we as a community can make to our democracy is to work towards change that will put an end to voter suppression and voter registration fraud in the future. As I mentioned above, changing the day(s) we vote is not necessarily the solution. Since writing the original diary, I discovered other bills that have been introduced in Congress, both called the Voter Empowerment Act of 2012.

The first, H.R. 5799, was introduced in the House of Representatives in May and has a prognosis of 3% of passing. The bill is explained at The Hill's Congress Blog:

There is no more important right in our society than the right to vote – it is the basis of all of our other rights. It is why generations of Americans have fought and died for the right to vote. And as a result of their sacrifices, today government and society as a whole has become more reflective of the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution.  

Given the importance of this hard-fought right, the American people deserve an election system that not only protects but enhances every eligible voter’s ability to register, cast a ballot, and participate in our democracy. But rather than improve access to the ballot box, over the past year states have enacted laws which undermine this fundamental right.

The Voter Empowerment Act: More necessary than ever

The second, S. 3608, was introduced in the Senate in September 2012, and has a prognosis of 23% of passing. The bill is explained at The Brennan Center for Justice:
“As the leading democracy of the world, our voting system should be free, fair, and accessible to all eligible Americans,” said Wendy Weiser, Democracy Program Director. “No matter your political party, we can all agree that every eligible American should have the opportunity to vote. Modernizing voter registration is something everyone can get behind. It is an innovative reform that could add more than 50 million eligible citizens to the rolls, permanently. It is significant and commendable that Senator Gillibrand and members of the House included this vital proposal in their voting bill.”

“Senator Gillibrand joined House leaders to support important voting reforms at a moment when this fundamental democratic system is under attack,” added Nicole Austin-Hillery, Director and Counsel of the Brennan Center’s Washington, D.C. office. “Whether young or old, rich or poor, voting is the one time when we all have the same say. We need to strengthen our democracy by making our voting system work better for all Americans.”

Senate Bill Includes Voter Registration Modernization, A Brennan Center Proposal

Another great suggestion for change that I read on Saturday was Twigg's diary, Voting Made Easy (Because I am determined to make the GOP hate me):
We do have a very easy solution to the problem, and whatever minor objections might be raised, it's a bit of a no-brainer.

We have, in every territory, every Congressional District, every State an infrastructure that could be employed at very little cost, that would ensure easy access to the polls.

We call them Public Schools.

The schools are right where we need them to be. They are embedded in local communities, where the people who would vote actually live. The schools are staffed by educated people who would, or at least could, conduct the ballot with a minimum of oversight.

There are a lot of great solutions out there. I will be the first to admit that I am a novice at organizing people for a cause. But until last month, I never phone banked before either. It was that experience of phone banking that inspired me to start this group because I couldn't find an existing group here at Daily Kos dedicated to improving our election system and fighting the GOP efforts at voter suppression.

I will also admit that I'm not exactly sure I know what I'm doing or how to do it. But I do think that the first step is to grow the group. So I'm asking all of you who support this cause will join the group. Once we are strong in numbers, we can work together to determine the next best step to take to make a change to improve our country's election system.

I have already learned that many registered users here at Daily Kos do not know how to join a group. Some don't even know that we have groups. So here's how you go about joining this group (which is how you join on other groups too.

(1) Request an invitation. You can do that by posting a comment in this diary, or sending a Kos Mail to the group.

(2) You will receive a Kos Mail inviting you to join the group. Click the "Accept this invitation" link and you will become a member of the group.

(3) As a member of the group, you will see all diaries published by the group in the "MY STREAM" section of your personal profile. "FOLLOWING" the group will also show the same diaries in your stream.

(4) As a member of the group, you can write diaries and publish them to the group.

(5) As a member of the group, you can suggest other diaries you read at Daily Kos to be published to the group.

Here is the official Daily Kos explanation groups and the different group membership levels:

Group Leadership Roles:

A group is a publishing organization, and the people above run it.

Admin has absolute control over the group -- they can manage publication schedule, invite more people into the leadership, fire them.

Editor can manage the queue (actually publishing diaries to a group's home), but has no ability to hire and fire.

Member can just queue things, but can't actually publish to the group's home page.

Currently I am setting every one as an "Editor" so we can all actively participate in the group. If you would be interested in taking a leadership role in the group and become an admin, please send me a Kos Mail.

Thank you!

Originally posted to hungrycoyote on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 03:12 PM PST.

Also republished by Do You Know Why We Vote On Tuesday.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    “Mitt Romney is the only person in America who looked at the way this Congress is behaving and said, ‘I want the brains behind THAT operation.’ ” — Tom Perriello

    by hungrycoyote on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 03:12:01 PM PST

  •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 03:20:16 PM PST

  •  My dream legislative announcement. (4+ / 0-)

    Breaking: Washington D.C.

    President Obama signed into law the National Elections Reform Act this afternoon in the Oval Office.  The sweeping reform measure institutes several measures designed to make voting fair, accessible, and commonplace.  Among the key provisions:

    * Using Obama's own Organizaing For America methodology, each voter is tracked and identified in a national database from the moment they turn 18 or gain U.S. citizenship.  The database not only ensures that each voter only votes once, but also that all voting age citizens receive either a ballot or a voter registration form at each election.

    * All election include several options for voting, allowing voters to choose between a mail-in ballot - mailed to everyone, early voting up to a month before the election at "voting centers", or voting at their precinct locations on election day.

    * State-wide non-partisan committees are established for the purpose of drawing up legislative districts according to transparent criteria with public notice requirements for changes.

    *The official voting day has been moved to the first Saturday in November, with the following monday being  a federal holiday.

    * All cases of election fraud, intimidation, or other partisan attempts to manipulate the vote are subject of the National Voting Rights Act.

    *  All voting machines must include a verifiable paper trail, and can be audited by petition of anyone concerned about the voting process.

    Howard Dean will always be my president.

    by 4democracy on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 03:34:07 PM PST

  •  Add: "market day" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hungrycoyote, Larsstephens

    Just as the school year reflects Ye Olde Agrarian Society's Calendar...when children were needed on the farm in the summer.....Election Day was chosen for a day most convenient for farmers coming to markets in town:

    An election date in November was seen as convenient because the harvest would have been completed (important in an agrarian society) and the winter-like storms would not yet have begun in earnest (a plus in the days before paved roads and snowplows). However, in this arrangement the states that voted later could be influenced by a candidate's victories in the states that voted earlier, a problem later exacerbated by improved communications via train and telegraph. In close elections, the states that voted last might well determine the outcome.[3]

    A uniform date for choosing presidential electors was instituted by the Congress in 1845.[4] Many theories have been advanced as to why the Congress settled on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.[5] The actual reasons, as shown in records of Congressional debate on the bill in December 1844, were fairly prosaic. The bill initially set the day for choosing presidential electors on "the first Tuesday in November," in years divisible by four (1848, 1852, etc.). But it was pointed out that in some years the period between the first Tuesday in November and the first Wednesday in December (when the electors are required to meet in their state capitals to vote) would be more than 34 days, in violation of the existing Electoral College law. So, the bill was reworded to move the date for choosing presidential electors to the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, a date scheme already used in New York.[6] The effect of the change was to make November 2 the earliest day on which Election Day may fall.

    In 1845, the United States was largely an agrarian society. Farmers often needed a full day to travel by horse-drawn vehicles to the county seat to vote. Tuesday was established as election day because it did not interfere with the Biblical Sabbath or with market day, which was on Wednesday in many towns
  •  I say make election day a national holiday. (5+ / 0-)

    That is truly the most simple solution.  You would bypass the religious issues of Saturday/Sunday, and everyone will be happy with another day off.

    The more we are, the less we need.

    by Fiddlegirl on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 04:21:06 PM PST

    •  I agree - National Holiday (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've been an election judge in three states - I like the Maryland approach with early voting and electronic poll books tying things together to help prevent voter fraud.  

      If people think we have too many holidays already then tie this to Veterans Day - Can't think of a better way to show what men and women died to give us, then exercising our right to vote on a day celebrating our veterans.

      Sign me up as a member of the group please

      Thanks in advance.

      In God we trust, All others we monitor -AFTAC (-2.75, -2.67)

      by lcs on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 05:41:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think make the preceding two weeks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      available for early voting would solve a lot of problems. Some people have to work on every day - hospitals and prisons do not close, for example.

      "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

      by glorificus on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 06:15:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Inertia (4+ / 0-)

    In the UK we have voted on a Thursday, for every general election since 1935. It has become a habit to hold elections on that day, but it was not a legal requirement until the recent fixed term parliament legislation. The exact day of election is determined by when the writ of election is sent by the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery to the returning officers, to tell them to hold an election.

    In the UK general elections, between the introduction of a single election day in 1918 and the election of 1931, voting took place on other days of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday). It does not seem to have caused a problem, whichever day was chosen.

    The only arguments I see against weekend voting is the overlap with Jewish and Christian holy days. However if a US state has early or postal voting and keeps the polls open on both Saturday and Sunday, everyone should have a fair opportunity to participate in the election.

    The other suggestion I would make is to have sufficient polling places to avoid long lines. After all, surely no one has an interest in reducing voting opportunities.

    There is no man alive who is sufficiently good to rule the life of the man next door to him. Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris, M.P.

    by Gary J on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 04:21:09 PM PST

  •  i'm still holding out for Vote by Mail (3+ / 0-)

    for all states, like we have in OR and WA.
    Get rid of most of the hassle of voting, no lines, no repugs hounding you for ID etc:
    I think I read that 70% of registered Oregonians vote in most elections.
    Is there any other state that can say that?

    Severely Socialist

    by ichibon on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 04:41:46 PM PST

    •  I would agree with that except for one thing. (3+ / 0-)

      A great many of the people I talked to while phone banking did not trust voting by mail. Before early voting started, we were calling people to encourage them to vote by mail.

      Here in Florida they had good reason not to trust vote by mail. So many ballots were thrown out because the voter did not sign the envelope OR a group determined that the signature on the envelope did not match the signature on file.

      Resolve that problem, and perhaps vote by mail would be the solution.

      “Mitt Romney is the only person in America who looked at the way this Congress is behaving and said, ‘I want the brains behind THAT operation.’ ” — Tom Perriello

      by hungrycoyote on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 04:45:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's another reason, too (3+ / 0-)

        No one likes long lines, of course, but I like going to my local polling place.  It's the elementary school my sons attended, just around the corner from our house.

        I love seeing my neighbors there, regardless of the way they vote.  (Luckily, more of them voted for Obama than Rombot, thus helping to keep Virginia blue.)  To me it's a community spirit thing.  I thank all the people who are handing out sample ballots, and anyone else who's working hard at the polls.

        However, I do think voting could be easier. Certainly, voting on a weekend would be easier!  And I'm going to e-mail my local board of elections for mismanaging the lines at the polls.  My 82-year-old husband had to stand in line for an hour.  He's not in super-duper health, and it was hard on him.  Much younger voters were waved on ahead of him because their surnames began with "A" through "D." That happened three times during the hour we stood there.

        I stood an extra 15 minutes to vote electronically but my husband opted for a paper ballot so he could sit down.  He also had our three-year-old granddaughter on his knee.

        This group is going to be great!  We've already heard from an English Kossack about the day they vote in the U.K.  I want to write to my friends in other countries to ask them about their voting days.

        "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

        by Diana in NoVa on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 04:54:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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