House Dems float moving Election Day to weekend

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The congressman said the current system of voting — adopted in 1845 because Tuesday was traditionally the "court day" when farmers came to town to conduct business — has become outdated in the 21st century.

“Voting should be easy and accessible. This is why, in 1845, Congress decided that voting on a Tuesday made sense. It was the easiest day for farmers in our agrarian society to get to the polls. But times have changed, and Tuesday voting just doesn’t make sense anymore. By moving Election Day from a single day in the middle of the workweek to a full weekend, we are encouraging more working Americans to participate. Our democracy will be best served when our leaders are elected by as many Americans as possible," Israel said in a statement.

A change to Election Day has long been debated, but has never gathered much steam in Congress. Some states independently have implemented early or postal voting to allow voters more time to register their ballots. Opponents of the legislation argue that moving Election Day to the weekend could be logistically problematic because election judges and officials are not normally scheduled to work over the weekend.

Republicans could also be reluctant to take up the legislation because the logistical hurdles of workday voting are traditionally more of a challenge to low-income and minority voters who usually favor Democrats at the polls.

But Andrew Young, chairman of the Why Tuesday? group, which advocates moving Election Day, argues the legislation would remove barriers to voting for those on both sides of the aisle.

"I want to commend Reps. Israel and Larson for their steadfast commitment to the issue of voting rights and protecting the right to vote. Through the challenging times of the '60s I worked alongside our nation's leaders on both side[s of] the aisle, and of course Dr. King, to remove barriers to the franchise. Moving Election Day from Tuesday to Saturday and Sunday would be an extraordinary step to make sure all Americans have the opportunity to make their voices heard," Young said in a statement.