Speed Reads


Why is Election Day on a Tuesday? John Oliver's Last Week Tonight has an answer and a rant.

One of the ways that America is exceptional is that Election Day is always on a Tuesday. The reason for that, Last Week Tonight announcer David Kaye explained on Sunday's show, dates back to an 1845 law passed "for a very 1845 reason" involving travel time and the Sabbath. Especially for states without early or mail-in voting, having everybody vote on a Tuesday leads to very long lines — "all the wait times of Disney World, all the fun of the f—ing DMV," Kaye notes. "And for some, the fact that voting takes place on a workday is a major inconvenience," especially hourly workers.

Last Week Tonight doesn't just gripe about this electoral anachronism, it also offers some sensible solutions: "So what could be done? Well, we could expand early voting, move Election Day to a weekend, or keep it where it is and declare it a national holiday like it is in Puerto Rico, where their turnout is not only consistently higher than the 50 states but their Election Day is consistently more awesome." In the meantime, you can watch this video on your smartphone until you get near the front of the line on Tuesday. Peter Weber