March 19, 2010

Why Do We Vote on Tuesdays?

ALEX TOURK is asking one of those why-didn't-I-think-of-that questions. Why, he asks, are elections held on Tuesday? Wouldn't Saturday or Sunday be better?

"It just makes sense to me,'' said Tourk, the former deputy chief of staff at the mayor's office who now runs his own public relations firm. "I hope to inspire San Franciscans to say, 'I never really thought about that. Why do we vote on Tuesday?'''

Tourk is promoting an idea to schedule a San Francisco election on a Saturday (see the Why Tuesdays SF website). He's currently collecting signatures to get the idea on the November ballot with the hope that an upcoming election will have two election days — one on Saturday and then one on Tuesday as usual.

Just a warning. If your first thought to the idea is, "Oh c'mon, what difference would that make?" don't say that to Tourk. He's got the numbers, he's got the history, and he has a passionate belief that this could actually make a big difference.

"Among the 179 developed countries in the world the United States ranks 132nd in turnout among eligible votes,'' he said. "Over the last 10 years in San Francisco — one of the most liberal, politically active cities in the country — the average turnout among eligible voters was 47.2 percent.''

What's more, he said, when eligible voters were asked in a survey why they didn't vote in 2008, Tourk says the main reason was "scheduling conflicts.''

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