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Redesigning the Election Process

November 10, 2012

Have you ever wondered why we vote on Tuesday, rather than on the weekends when more people are off work or out of school?

Beginning in 1792 states were allowed to hold their presidential elections any day within the 34-day period before the first Wednesday in December. That first Wednesday was the day when all of the electors in each state would convene and choose a President and Vice-President. That sounds reasonable, but Congress wanted to establish an “election day”. Antebellum America was primarily an agrarian and strictly religious society and only wealthy, white, landowning males were allowed to vote. Sunday was a day for church and rest. Since it could take a man an entire day to travel by horseback to the county seat to cast his vote, Monday was not realistic. So, in 1845, Congress decided to allow the first Monday of November for travel, voting on Tuesday, and the plantation owners could be back to their farms by Wednesday.

So, to this day, we continue the idiotic and archaic practice of voting on the first Tuesday in November. In 1845, the U.S. population was only 19.7 million and there were only 27 states in the union. Today we have 313 million people and 50 states. Expecting so many more voters to cast a ballot on a single day is ridiculous, and Tuesday is an inconvenient day. Early voting goes a long way to overcome this, but I think it’s time to go back to something that more closely resembles the 1792 method. Congress needs to declare an “election MONTH”. That month should be October when the weather is typically better than November. Polling precincts should be open at least 8 hours a day and 7 days a week throughout election month.

The process should be overseen by the Federal Government so that the rules are the same throughout the country. Poll workers should be properly compensated for their time. With the increasing use of electronic voting machines, every voter should be given a paper printout of their choices and another paper copy should be kept by the precinct to assure the machine’s tally is correct. Anything that smells like voter suppression, such as photo I.D. and amendments to the Voting Rights Act, should be struck down. The goal should be free, fair, efficient and convenient elections where every vote is properly counted.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2012 3:16 PM

    Excellent idea!

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