On weekend voting

2008-10-24 2 min read

    I found an op-ed in the NY Times that claimed that the best way to increase voter turnout was by having election day fall on a weekend. They provide a few examples but nothing too detailed. I tried pulling in some data and seeing if I could come to the same conclusion. I used two data sets: voter turn out by country and election dates by country.

    Combining this data into one table, and ignoring the missing data:

    CountryElection TypeDateDay of weekWeekendTurnout
    Czech RepublicPresidential FinalFri 2/15/086No85%
    South KoreaParliamentaryWed 4/9/084No75%
    CanadaParliamentaryTue 10/14/083No76%
    Czech RepublicParliamentaryFri 10/17/086No85%
    United StatesPresidentialTue 11/4/083No54%
    RomaniaParliamentaryFri 11/28/086No81%
    RussiaPresidentialSun 3/2/081Yes61%
    MaltaParliamentarySat 3/8/087Yes94%
    SpainParliamentarySun 3/9/081Yes73%
    ItalyParliamentarySun 4/13/081Yes90%
    IcelandPresidential (Cancelled)Sat 6/28/087Yes89%
    AustriaParliamentarySun 9/28/081Yes92%
    New ZealandParliamentarySat 11/8/087Yes88%

    It does seem as if they are on to something - the average turnout for weekday election days was 76% while the average turnout for weekend election days was 84%. This wasn't a very rigorous examination and I am sure there are many more issues that factor in to the voting process but it does make intuitive sense.