Group seeks to move Election Day, improve voter turnout

How often do you take the time to stop and ask the question, why?

For example, why Tuesday?

In this case, we're talking about Election Day.

â??I have no idea why Americans vote on Tuesday,â?? said Daniel Kostrzewa, Traverse City.

Daniel is not alone.

When asked, several elected officials could offer no explanation.

So what is the correct answer?

The truth may surprise you.

â??In 1840, congress was charged with the task of deciding when Americans would vote in federal elections. Mindful of the fact that it was an agrarian time and farmers needed a day to get to the city and vote and a day to get back, and not wanting to chose a day which would interrupt religious observation, that left Tuesday and Wednesday. Wednesday was market day, so they chose Tuesday,â?? said William Wachtel, Founder of Why Tuesday?

Why Tuesday? is a 501c3 non-partisan organization. Wachtel said it was founded in 2005 to find solutions to increase voter turnout and participation in elections in honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

â??The census cites the inconvenience of Tuesday is the most prevalent reason why people say they don't vote,â?? Wachtel said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010, 27% of non-voters said they didn't vote because they were too busy. That was the most common answer.

That same year, fewer than 40% of eligible Texas residents voted in their congressional election.

There was no presidential election in 2010, but the numbers reflect a trend in America of low voter participation.

â??If congress can move Veterans' Day, Presidents' Day, Martin Luther King's birthday...for the convenience of shoppers...shouldn't we at least consider moving election day for the convenience of voters?â?? Wachtel said.

In Washington, legislation has been introduced to move Election Day to the weekend.

The bill will not impact Michiganâ??s 2012 primary.

Why Tuesday? organizers hope that weekend elections would improve voter turnout and enrich Americaâ??s democracy in the future.

(A portion of the video in this story is courtesy of Why Tuesday?)

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