Group of young politicians pushes for elections on weekendsA group of young, elected officials are urging the president and leaders in Congress to seriously consider changing and extending voting days.
By: Maureen McCollum, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A group of young, elected officials are urging the president and leaders in Congress to seriously consider changing and extending voting days.
The Weekend Voting Act would move federal elections from a Tuesday to the first Saturday and Sunday in November. The bill has been introduced a few times, but always dies in committee.
Members of the Young Elected Officials Network have sent a letter to leaders in Washington, D.C., pressing them to consider the bill. The left-leaning group includes school board members and state senators.
La Crosse County Board Supervisor Andrew Londre is spearheading the effort. He acknowledges that it’s an ambitious goal, but he wants to see voting become more accessible.
“There is no good reason whatsoever that we’re voting on Tuesday,” says Londre. “We absolutely need to modernize the way we vote so more people can participate in our electoral process.”
Some experts say the overhaul won’t happen anytime soon. University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor Ken Mayer says changing the system is easier said than done, since administrative rules and campaigns would be significantly impacted.
“But, as political movements wax and wane, you never quite know when something will happen and generate attention, and move this from a benign effort that doesn’t go anywhere to something that might have some traction,” says Mayer.
Mayer says rules surrounding early voting and absentee ballots can be more effective in increasing voter turnout.
According to the U.S. Census, about 62 percent of eligible voters participated in the 2012 election. Many people say they don’t vote because they’re “too busy.”