Can weekend voting solve tepid turnout?

  • Article by: Editorial Board , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 12, 2013 - 6:21 PM

Improve ho-hum numbers by moving elections to Saturday-Sunday.

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ericgus55Nov. 12, 13 6:40 PM

If we were going to move voting and turn it into a two-day affair, I would think that Friday/Saturday or Sunday/Monday (a weekend day/weekday combo) would be the best way to make voting more convenient for folks with job demands. However, since Tuesday-as-voting-day is enshrined in the Constitution for National elections, I think the best choice would be to make it a National holiday (requiring time off/holiday pay). I know that law requires employers to allow time for workers to vote, but it doesn't always work out that way (my wife, for instance, is a doctor, and twice has had to deal with an emergency and missed her chance to vote). The best call is probably just modernizing and allowing for online absentee-type voting for anyone who wants to do so (without requiring justification).

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jbpaperNov. 12, 13 7:08 PM

What percentage of the citizens voted and how does that compare to previous years? Are less people voting or is it just that more people are getting registered, throwing off the percentages? There has been a lot of voter registration drives lately but just because someone registers doesn't mean they are going to vote or they just vote in one election for a particular reason.

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jbpaperNov. 12, 13 7:14 PM

Thousands upon thousands have no trouble getting to the stores on black Friday but somehow it's too difficult to get to the polls on a Tuesday.

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ImsmarterNov. 12, 13 9:46 PM

The low voter turn out has nothing to do with the day of the week the voting takes place. There isn't the same interest in local off year elections. You want to boost voter turn out in the mayoral election -- put that on the same ballot as the governors race -- don't move it to the weekend -- people are probably more committed to their own weekend activities than they are to work week days. Leave it on Tuesday -- change the cycle to coincide with the governors race and you will get a better turn out. Either that or put something controversial on the same ballot as the mayors race.

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arspartzNov. 12, 1310:33 PM

School districts count on low attendance to pass bond issues and per pupil levies. Only those who rabidly want to spend everyone else's money show up. These issues should require a majority of registered voters, not just those that show up.

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plizzoNov. 13, 13 1:54 AM

How about not having elections off cycle? There is a reason that school districts put levy increases on the ballots during off cycle years with no presidential or governor election. Because the turnout is low. That's why.

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Willy53Nov. 13, 13 5:50 AM

You missed the real solution: make the first Tuesday in November every year a national voting holiday!!! A one day holiday in the middle of the week to celebrate our democracy and voting rights by going to the polls. It has to be in the middle of the week or else too many would be taking a three day week and skipping the vote. Turnout and participation would

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ericgus55Nov. 13, 13 6:41 AM

arspartz - "only those who rabidly want to spend everyone else's money show up." Please, provide some EVIDENCE that those who show up to vote for school levies are not those who are the property owners. I own property, and I never miss an election (local included). I'm voting on my own property taxes and on who should spend our/my local money. I tend to believe that only the most committed and most informed vote in local elections, and that those are the same people who own the property and the businesses. I'm sorry to say, requiring anything other than the majority of those who show up just isn't realistic, because the world is run by those who show up. Lawmakers who are winning (those in office are those who won) aren't usually keen on changing the rules to lessen their chance of staying. Hey, why not ask the Super Bowl winner to change the rules so that the other teams have a better chance of winning next year?

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arspartzNov. 13, 13 7:06 AM

ericgus55 -- There are two major problems with off year school elections, distance and hours. My local district (East-Central) is one of the largest districts in the state (in area). If they held their elections during the normal election cycle there would be something on the order of ten poling places open. In the off year, there is only one. You are expected to drive to the centrally located school to cast your ballot. This can be upwards of THIRTY miles. Also, because the polling place is the school itself, you are not allowed to vote until after the kids have left the building. This leaves a bare four-five hour window to vote. The bigger overall issues is who gets to vote. If you own a business in the district (or city or county) but live elsewhere, you get no vote even though you pay far more property taxes on your business than the local resident who gets the benefit of the spending.

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redeye12Nov. 13, 13 7:21 AM

Voting is a privilege. If people can't be bothered to exercise this privilege, changing the day will not matter. Leave it on Tuesday.

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