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:

Country Election Type Date Day of week Weekend Turnout
Czech Republic Presidential Final Fri 2/15/08 6 No 85%
South Korea Parliamentary Wed 4/9/08 4 No 75%
Canada Parliamentary Tue 10/14/08 3 No 76%
Czech Republic Parliamentary Fri 10/17/08 6 No 85%
United States Presidential Tue 11/4/08 3 No 54%
Romania Parliamentary Fri 11/28/08 6 No 81%
Russia Presidential Sun 3/2/08 1 Yes 61%
Malta Parliamentary Sat 3/8/08 7 Yes 94%
Spain Parliamentary Sun 3/9/08 1 Yes 73%
Italy Parliamentary Sun 4/13/08 1 Yes 90%
Iceland Presidential (Cancelled) Sat 6/28/08 7 Yes 89%
Austria Parliamentary Sun 9/28/08 1 Yes 92%
New Zealand Parliamentary Sat 11/8/08 7 Yes 88%

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.


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