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Why do Americans vote on Tuesdays?

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(Music) I want to tell you about a piece of American history that is so secret that nobody had done anything about it for 167 years until right now. And the way that we're going to uncover this vestigial organ of America past is by asking this question: Why? As we all know, (Laughter) we're in the middle of yet another presidential election, hotly contested, as you can see. But what you may not know is that American voter turnout ranks near the bottom of all countries in the entire world, 138th of 172 nations. This is the world's most famous democracy. So! Why do you vote on Tuesday? Does anybody know? And as a matter of fact, Michigan and Arizona are voting today. Here is the answer: absolutely no good reason whatsoever. I am not joking. You will not find the answer in the Declaration of Independence, nor will you find it in the Constitution. It is just a stupid law from 1845. (Laughter) In 1845, Americans traveled by horse and buggy. As did I, evidently. It took a day or longer to get to the county seat to vote, a day to get back, and you couldn't travel on the sabbath. So, Tuesday it was. I do not often travel by horse and buggy, I would imagine most of you don't either, so when I found out about this, I was fascinated. I linked up with a group called -- what else? -- Why Tuesday? to go and ask some of our nation's most prominent elected leaders if they knew the answer to the question, "Why do we vote on Tuesday?" (Video) Rick Santroum: Anybody know? OK, I'm going to be stumped on this. Anybody know why we vote on Tuesdays? Interviewer: Do you happen to know? Ron Paul: On Tuesdays? Interviewer: Uhuh! The day after the first Monday in November. Ron Paul: I don't know how that originated. Interviewer: Do you happen to know why we do vote on Tuesday? Newt Gingrich: No. Dick Lugar: No, I don't. (Laughing) Diane Feinstein: I don't Darrell Issa: No. John Kerry: In truth really, I'm not sure why. Interviewer: Ok, Thanks very much. (Laughter) JS: These are people that live for Election Day, yet, they don't know why we vote on that very day. Chris Rock said, "They don't want you to vote. If they did, we wouldn't vote on a Tuesday in November. Have you ever thrown a party on a Tuesday? (Laughter) No, of course not. Nobody would show up." (Laughter) Here's the cool part. Because we asked this question, "Why Tuesday?" There is now this bill, the Weekend Voting Act, in the Congress of the United States of America. It would move Election Day from Tuesday to the weekend, so that -- duh -- more people can vote. (Applause) It has only taken 167 years, but finally we are on the verge of changing American history. Thank you very much. (Applause) Thanks a lot.

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 29 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: TEDEducation
Views: 107
Posted by: wenyif on Apr 18, 2012

Jacob Soboroff is going to talk about why Americans vote on Tuesdays since 1845.

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