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Elections on Saturdays?
By adamg on Tue, 04/01/2008 - 6:45pm
City Councilor John Tobin thinks it would increase voter turnout; doesn't seem too concerned about observant Jews,
Jehovah's Witnesses Seventh-Day Adventists.
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I'm not sure but
I don't think Jehovah's Witnesses vote. Anyhow, voting is done on Saturdays in almost all towns in the state. Town elections usually take place in April to get Town Meetings Members and Selectmen seated in time for annual town meetings which usually take place in June (or at least before the fiscal year begins on July 1st).
Wouldn't absentee ballots be
Wouldn't absentee ballots be available to anyone with a religious (or other) objection to voting on Saturday? Seems like a good idea to me.
Speaking as a Jew (albeit an unobservant one), I agree that absentee ballots could solve the problem. Also, as long as polling stations remain open for a while past sunset, that would help too -- at least as far as Jewish voters are concerned. (I don't know whether the sabbath ends at sunset for Seventh Day Adventists.)
To both Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh-Day Adventists for getting them mixed up.
I think itll hurt. On
I think itll hurt.
On saturday, you have the option of staying home all day. On a weekday, you can vote going or leaving work (or even during).
You do realize...
...that many people work on Saturdays, right? You've been to restaurants and stores on Saturdays, right? You know those people who serve you your food and bag your groceries and drive your bus? You know what they're doing? They're WORKING!
I say, keep it on Tuesday (or any weekday) but make it a civic holiday. We get days off for dead presidents and Columbus, why not a civic holiday to vote? More people could volunteer for poll work, drive people who oterwise wouldn't make it to the polls, and just get out and meet their neighbors.
Mr. Contrary Weighs In
I say have voting between 2am and 5am on Wednesday. That way, only those people who really care enough to do it, and who have actually possibly studied the issues and made an informed decision, will vote.
A few others may vote
Insomniacs and crazies, too.
I think this is an excellent
I think this is an excellent idea Suldog!
That'd solve things, too. Every year, election day is a national holiday. Most workers will get the day off and the effect will be the same without worrying about religious issues.
It seems like a good idea on the surface, but it's going to end up being really classist in practice. When an organization observes a holiday, it's mainly the people with more education and higher pay who have the holiday off. At my agency, no "business" is conducted on holidays; the financial folks and HR folks and administration folks are mostly out. Most clinicians are also off, except in a few situations where a program is supposed to have a licensed person around at all times. Things like therapy groups and evaluations and family visits don't take place on weekends or holidays. But the agency can't just close, because we serve a lot of people in residential/inpatient settings where there's 24/7 staff. So the folks who make $10 an hour supervising people will be working on holidays. This is the case in a number of different fields, too, such as plants or labs that can't be left unattended, but where "skilled" work stops on weekends and holidays.
Do we really want our candidates elected by just the folks who have more education and make more money? I don't think so.
Simple solution: multi-day elections
Election day becomes a national holiday, voting at the polls is possible for one day before and after, and anyone who works full-time and has to work the holiday must be allowed to take an hour off by their employer to vote on one of the alternate days. Or something similar.
Or, we have "election week", where during the entire week, you can vote at any town/city building.
I see a massive clusterfuck in the waiting- there's going to be huge turnout in this year's presidential election, and there simply won't be enough time in the day in any city precincts to handle the number of people who want to vote.
There's absolutely no unworkable reason to hold elections on ONE day, instead of two or three- except to suppress and further discourage people from voting. A lot of problems are solved:
1)You don't need huge numbers of voting machines to handle the influx of people if you're spread out over 2-7 days. Breakdowns and malfunctions are much less serious.
2)Ballot supplies would be easier to manage, and if you run out, it's no big deal- people can still come back tomorrow.
3)You wouldn't need to have as many people on hand to handle voters.
4)You could set up polls in more convenient locations, instead of only in places large enough to handle a large number of machines, lots of parking, etc.
5)Fraud/tampering might be tougher, since you'd have to repeatedly tamper with ballots over several days- more chances for someone to catch it.
6)Voter registration wouldn't be a problem. People could, upon finding they're not registered, go and register and get a nice official piece of paper saying they'd done so, and come back the next day.
7)There is more time to carefully count and verify results.
Vote by Mail
Oregon has done this for years. I'm not sure about the turnout changes because of it, but it is a lot cheaper for the state to run and a lot easier to do.
Don't get to hold signs in people's faces, though.
A 2005 Washington Post Op-Ed on Oregon Measure 60: The Real Winner is Democracy