This nation was founded upon the principles of free exercise and freedom of political speech. But the health of our democracy is not a constant, and not a given. It depends upon our participation and engagement as individual citizens - our constant pursuit of a more perfect union. And it is only representative in so far as we each raise our voices to shape it.
As Americans, we each share these goals and responsibilities. But it is contingent upon our government to facilitate the exercise of these rights - to eliminate barriers to voter participation, to the benefit of our democracy.
So why are we still voting on a Tuesday?
We have seen time and again how low voter turnout results in disenfranchisement, frustration, civic apathy, and outcomes that are not truly representative of the general public.
If work, school, access to childcare or countless other responsibilities become a roadblock for citizens wishing to exercise their right to vote, then I believe it is the government’s obligation to take steps to ease that burden if we are truly committed for forming a government that is representative of the governed.
Dating back to 1845, American elections have been held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November to allow farmers sufficient time to get to their county seat to vote without interfering with the Sabbath or market day. That was 173 years ago!
Weekend voting is a proven method that increases accessibility, engagement, and turnout. Countless other developed nations around the world currently hold elections on weekends. Here in the United States it would create a fair, accessible, unmitigated path to the voting booth that ultimately benefits our democracy, and benefits us all. Today, it just makes sense. I challenge anyone to convince me as to why this change is not needed or otherwise should not be made.
Based on recent election results, voter turnout in the United States ranks 26th out of the 32 highly developed and democratic OECD countries. We can and must do better.
That is why I’m carrying on the legacy of Rep. Louise SlaughterDorothy (Louise) Louise SlaughterDemocrats must go on the offensive against voter suppression House passes bill to explicitly ban insider trading Sotomayor, Angela Davis formally inducted into National Women's Hall of Fame MORE (D-N.Y.) and just reintroduced legislation to officially change election day to the weekend after the first Friday in November to increase voting accessibility, engagement, and turnout. If the current Republican leadership in Washington won’t support this commonsense policy, I will fight to ensure it is a core tenant of what Democrats have to offer Americans in November.
The health of our democracy depends upon it. And, I would argue, peace and stability the world over depends upon a healthy America.
Boyle represents Pennsylvania’s 13th District.