Why Do We Vote on Tuesday?

Jacob Soboroff, executive director of the non-partisan group Why Tuesday?, asks the presidential candidates how they feel about proposals to change the day on which Americans typically vote — including moving elections to the weekend.

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

And today, we welcome a new contributor to our political blog. Jacob Soboroff is the executive director of Why Tuesday?, a nonpartisan group working to increase voter participation. He'll be contributing video blogs or vlogs. Over the next few months, you'll be able to hear his views on the state of the voting system. Here's an excerpt of Jacob Soboroff's vlog on why we vote on Tuesdays.

Mr. JACOB SOBOROFF (Executive Director, Why Tuesday?, Contributor): The answer is we vote on Tuesday because of a law set in 1845 by Congress to make it convenient for the largely agrarian society at the time to vote. Nobody ever changed it. And today, being too busy is consistently the number one reason given by those who are eligible but do not vote in the U.S. census.

So, we hit the road to find out what all the presidential candidates think about this. I caught up with Barack Obama after the MTV/MySpace presidential dialogue in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; Presidential Candidate): Number one, I think we have to make it easier to vote. And I am assuming that Why Tuesday? is in favor, for example, having it on weekends so that more people can vote.

Mr. SOBOROFF: Here's John McCain after a different MTV/MySpace presidential dialogue. This one was at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona; Republican Presidential Candidate): I think it's too bad that we have such low voter turnout, and I'd be glad to do anything to stimulate increased participation.

Mr. SOBOROFF: And here's Hillary Clinton who sent us a pre-taped video.

Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York; Presidential Candidate): I want to thank Why Tuesday? for focusing on the critical issue of election reform, because I do believe our voting system is broken.

Mr. SOBOROFF: For Sunday Soapbox, I'll be bringing you an on-the-ground look at the state of our voting system - the good, the bad and the ugly, and how the ways and days we vote affect who votes and why.

For Sunday Soapbox, this is Jacob Soboroff. Talk to you guys later.

HANSEN: That's Jacob Soboroff, a vlogger for WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY's political blog. To watch the video, go to npr.org/sundaysoapbox.

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