PHOTOS: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Joins Lawmakers, Voting Rights Advocates in Calling for Weekend Voting to Increase Turnout
Washington, DC—Today in Washington, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) joined Members of Congress and Martin Luther King III, civil rights leader and president of the group Why Tuesday?, and Norm Ornstein and Bill Wachtel, co-founders Why Tuesday?, at a press conference calling for passage of the Weekend Voting Act (H.R.1094). If enacted, the Weekend Voting Act would move Election Day from Tuesday to the first Saturday and Sunday after the first Friday in November in every even year for elections of Representatives and Delegates to Congress, and in every fourth year for the election of President and Vice President. It would make it easier and more convenient for all Americans to exercise their right to vote.
The tradition of holding federal elections on the first Tuesday of November is an outdated one that began with an Act of Congress in 1845. Tuesday was selected for its comparative convenience for the then-agrarian society, because it was a designated “court day” and the day in which land-owning voters would typically be in town to conduct business.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “In order to strengthen our democracy, we need to open the doors and make it as convenient as possible for people to vote. Changing the voting day from Tuesday to the weekend will remove an arbitrary barrier that some researchers say kept up to 35% of potential voters from being able to cast their votes. With no federal law requiring paid time off to vote, millions of voters across the country are left to choose between potentially standing in long lines to cast their votes on election day, or going to work, attending school, or covering an extra shift just to make ends meet. We have a responsibility to empower the people of this country to engage in our democracy by making voting more accessible to all. This legislation is a common sense way to do just that.”
According to a recent Pew study, 35% of registered voters who did not vote cited work or school as a conflict to voting in the 2014 midterm elections.
Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has strongly supported legislation to make the voter registration process easier and make voting more accessible, and has cosponsored legislation like the Voter Empowerment Act (H.R.12) —which would require every state to make online voter registration available, authorize automated and same-day registration, and make elections more accessible to the disabled and other underserved groups—along with the Automatic Voter Registration Act (H.R.2840) and the Voting Rights Amendment Act (H.R.3239). She has also called for campaign finance reforms like passing the Government By the People Act of 2017 (H.R.20), overturning Citizens United, and curtailing the unlimited flow of “big” money from Super PACs that degrades the integrity of American democracy and distorts the electoral process.
More updates and information from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard can be found here: