The argument has often been made that since more Americans have the "day off" on Saturday than on Tuesdays, holding presidential elections on Saturday would allow and encourage more people to vote.
Is that right, or would holding elections on Saturdays simply create a different set of excuses for not voting?
Is it Really That Hard to Vote on a Weekday?
Despite the fact that many employers allow their workers time off to vote, it is harder now than even for many people to vote on on a weekday. Many people work two jobs or have jobs that send them out of town during the week. More people than ever are attending night school after work, and many workers commute to jobs far from their homes, and thus their polling places. For many people, access to health care and other vital services is limited or not available on weekends. So, yes, it can truly be hard for many Americans to vote on a weekday.
Are there Other Options?
One often-suggested alternative, declaring Election Day a national holiday, would be opposed by businesses. As it is now, how many stores are closed on Veterans Day, Labor Day, or Presidents Day? A better idea might be for Congress to move Election Day to coincide with Veterans Day, traditionally observed on November 11.
While a few other democratic nations hold elections on workdays, most vote on weekends or holidays, or hold their elections over more than one day. While several European nations vote on Sundays, long established U.S. traditions, from religion to sports, make Sunday voting a poor option.
If the many bugs and security issues could be worked out, another alternative -- online voting -- would probably increase voter participation. But experience has demonstrated that those bugs and security issues remain far from worked out.
The Bottom Line?
Chances are, that we will continue to hold national elections on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, as set by Congress in 1845, and the debate over the best day to vote will continue. In our always busy society, there probably is no "perfect" day to hold elections, and while voting should always be easy, it must never be trivialized.