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Congresswoman Louise Slaughter

Representing the 25th District of New York

Louise Line: Making Sure the Path to the Ballot Box is Clear

February 22, 2017
Louise Line
February 22, 2017

Have you ever wondered why we vote on Tuesdays?

In 1845, Congress decided that voting on a Tuesday made the most sense. It was the easiest day for farmers in our agrarian society to get to the polls. Tuesday was selected for its comparative convenience because it was designated a “court day” and the day in which land-owners would typically be in town to conduct business. But times have changed, and Tuesday voting doesn’t make sense anymore. That’s why I am introducing the Weekend Voting Act.

If enacted, the Weekend Voting Act would move Election Day for federal elections to the first Saturday and Sunday after the first Friday in November. If this bill becomes law, I have every expectation that states would follow suit for local elections as well.

Instituting weekend voting would make it more convenient for all Americans to exercise their right to vote, helping to reduce long lines at the polls and increasing voter turnout, which was at a historic low in 2016 at approximately 58 percent. Currently, most polls are only open 12 hours—from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. — for one day during the work week. Extending voting hours to span two days would mean that students, seniors, and those who work the night shift would have ample opportunity to get to the polls.

If we want to strengthen our democracy, we must make it easier for Americans to vote, not harder! I am proud to introduce the Weekend Voting Act with over 20 of my colleagues and you can count on me to continue pushing for common sense legislation that helps ensure the path to the ballot box is clear for everyone.