Next week voters in Indiana, North Carolina, and West Virginia will head to the polls to vote on federal and state offices in addition to a number of ballot questions. (Visit Ballotpedia for more on what’s on the ballot in every state this year.)
But before Tuesday rolls around, Why Tuesday uses a new infographic to examine the impact of voting on Tuesday.
It suggests that having Election Day on a Tuesday may be stifling U.S. voter turnout, noting that our national turnout rates trail those of countries that have Election Day on either a weekend or designate it as a holiday. It also notes that in every U.S. election since 1996, the number one reason voters gave for not casting a ballot was “too busy/couldn’t get time off to vote” and that in 2010 27% of voters gave this answer.
Increasing turnout probably won’t require that we drop Tuesday altogether, but we should be seeking ways to expand access to the ballot through early in-person voting opportunities (including weekends) and simplified vote-by-mail options. Of course there’s a role for nonprofits as well: we can help increase turnout by reminding our clients of the upcoming election, answering questions, and offering to help locate their polling place.
If your jurisdiction has an election next week, ask your constituents to think about their plans for voting, or suggest that they take their kids along to see what elections are all about. Whether or not we vote on Tuesday, we can still help ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate!