Election Day moving?

Posted at: 04/24/2013 5:29 PM | Updated at: 04/24/2013 11:26 PM
By: Lynette Adams | WHEC.com

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The League of Women Voters says Election Day turnout continues to decline. So, what if the election were held on the weekend? Would you be more likely to vote?

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter thinks it would and she has proposed legislation to change the 1845 law that established election day as the first Tuesday of November.

The Weekend Voting Act would allow polling places across the nation to open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and close at 6 p.m. on Sunday instead of Tuesday.

The purpose would be to reverse a declining turnout on election day, which is steadily declining, not only in New York, but across the nation.

“Our democracy is in trouble and you do need to be there to know they're representing your interests,” said Katherine Smith from the League of Women Voters.

For sometime now, the League of Women Voters has been keeping track of voting trends in New York State, studying ways to get more people to the polls. League studies find voter turnout continues to decline. News10NBC wanted to know why.

“You get all the way from the family that's trying to get the kids home from daycare, get the meal started and get back out and get to the polls, to a large group of people who are saying my one vote doesn't count,” said Smith.

For almost a decade the League has been pushing early voting, allowing people to cast their ballots as many as 14 days before the election.

The League may no longer be a lone voice on this issue. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter has introduced a bill to change election day from the first Tuesday in November to the first weekend in November. She says this would give voters two days to get to the polls.

“We have looked at the states that do it and when they're doing it on the weekend, it gets you more voters and gets more people to the polls than if you do it during the week,” said Congresswoman Slaughter.

Would this change would make a difference? One RIT freshman says it would.

“I do think there's a certain amount of people who just don't have time in their lives and they just for whatever reason can't get there and I guess that's something to consider,” said Rebecca Schlifer.

Floyd Johnson, who lives in north Chili, disagrees.

“In terms of who comes out, those people who are interested are going to come out. Those who aren't, aren't. It's not going to change,” said Johnson.

At the same time as this federal legislation, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has proposed similar legislation to allow early voting. If it is approved, voters would be able to vote up to 14 days before any election. Polling places would be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day and the ballots would be counted as usual election night.

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