The Instigator
libertarian
Pro (for)
Losing
16 Points
The Contender
GaryBacon
Con (against)
Winning
26 Points

The American federal government should move its general election day to November's first Saturday.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/31/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 901 times Debate No: 4295
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (10)

 

libertarian

Pro

History: In 1845, Congress had to decide when to let Americans vote. It took a very long time to travel. Farmers needed a day to get to the county seat, a day to vote, and a day to get back, without interfering with the time of worship. So they chose Tuesday. Because Wednesday was market day. In 1875 Congress extended the Tuesday date for national House elections and in 1914 for federal Senate elections.

This no longer applies to American society because travel is a lot easier and nobody would travel three days to vote.

Election day should be moved to the first Saturday in November.

This keeps the date close to the other date and does not hurt schedules now too much.

It is so inconvenient to leave work on Tuesdays or to generally get around. It would be a lot more convenient for Americans if Election Day was moved to a Saturday.

Census data shows that many Americans do not vote due to the fact that it is so inconvenient or unlikely that they will be able to leave work.
GaryBacon

Con

The original reasoning behind choosing Tuesday for election day no longer applies. That you have clearly demonstrated in your opening argument. However, this should not lead one to conclude changing election day to a Saturday.

Although the original reasons for a Tuesday election are outdated, this does not mean that other reasons have not also come into play as times have changed.

First off, many jobs give either an entire day off for election day, or extended lunch breaks on election day in order to allow employees to vote. Typically, civil service jobs and other jobs working for either the city, state, or federal government get the entire day off to vote.

Corporations very rarely give workers an entire day off, but there are a great many that still give extended lunch hours to workers in order to vote.

In both of these situations, the extra time that such people are given specifically to vote can definitely cause a guilt trip. I have heard plenty of people say in the past that they felt compelled to vote as a result of having the day off or having a much longer lunch break.

This cannot happen if election day is a Saturday. Most people have Saturday as a regular day off anyway. This may seem like it would lead to more voting, but this is probably not true.

Census data can only show what people claim are reasons for not voting. When a person doing a survey asks a non-voter why they did not go to the polls, how many of those people would be honest enough to answer that they just didn't feel like it?

Those that claim that work conflicted with them being able to vote are probably looking for time from their jobs to vote. I don't think they are really trying to move election day to Saturday. That is always a problem with that type of poll. The honest answer is not given. In this census, what percentage said they simply didn't feel like voting? I'm sure the number is extremely small if that answer even appears in the data. Yet common sense and experience would tell us that the number of people that simply don't feel like voting is very high.

This is something that has a lot more to do with personality than with the particular day of the week. I believe that most people that refrain from voting would do so regardless of the day of the week chosen. And as a civil servant, I'm glad to have an extra day off. I'm sure that many teachers and students also appreciate the day off when the school is used for voting.

And as I mentioned earlier, when a person is given extra time to vote (and a Saturday would not fit this category since it is not extra), it can cause a guilt trip and make that person more likely to vote.

But this reason is actually a minor one. There is a much bigger problem with your idea that I will present in the next round.
Debate Round No. 1
libertarian

Pro

Opponent>>> First off, many jobs give either an entire day off for election day, or extended lunch breaks on election day in order to allow employees to vote. Typically, civil service jobs and other jobs working for either the city, state, or federal government get the entire day off to vote.

>+>+> This is true. However, MOST JOBS DO NOT GET ELECTION DAY BREAKS. Lower class voters often do not get breaks for Election Day. This is unfair to lower class voters.

>+>+> Almost everybody has Saturday off. This will increase voter turn out, if it is more conveinent for voters to vote.

Opponent>>> In both of these situations, the extra time that such people are given specifically to vote can definitely cause a guilt trip. I have heard plenty of people say in the past that they felt compelled to vote as a result of having the day off or having a much longer lunch break.

>+>+> This is an untrue assumption. Many workers do not get this time off so will never expreience this guilt trip and just never vote.

>+>+> Many workers who do get this break do not give into the guilt trip, but instead use the time for something else.

>+>+> This extended break or entire day off severely reduces productivity. This lowers revenue for the company. In our failing economy, we cannot afford reduction in revenue. Congress just passed a stimulus plan that would try to increase revenue in the country to help the economy. If there is less revenue being generated in the economy, the economy suffers tremendously. And if this break happens as often as you say it does, this break or extra vacation day really takes a toll on our failing economy.

>+>+> Also, guilt trips should not be looked up to as a good thing. Guilt trips are bad psychologically and could damage work productivity, therefore, danaging the economy. Also, it will reduce the happiness of Americans. It will also hurt the judgment of Americans when they are psychologically damaged in this way: temporarily or permanently. If Americans judgment is hurt, then they are more likely to drink and drive. Drinking and driving kills innocent civilians. One of these civilians could be a day away from revealing the cure for AIDS. If this potential person is killed, millions of unnecessary people will die. But it is not just this person, but rather any important person. The probability is great and so is the impact.

Opponent>>> Census data can only show what people claim are reasons for not voting. When a person doing a survey asks a non-voter why they did not go to the polls, how many of those people would be honest enough to answer that they just didn't feel like it?

>+>+> People do not just not feel like voting. There are reasons behind it like political ignorance or most commonly inconvenence. People will express the truth and even if you feel this legitimate source to be illegitimate, you will have to admit that increasing conveinence for voting will get more people to vote. It is common sense.

Opponent>>> Those that claim that work conflicted with them being able to vote are probably looking for time from their jobs to vote.

>+>+> No matter why, these people claimed that work conflicted with their voting. If they did not have that conflict, the problem would be solved. It is inevitable logic. If you have a conflict of two things and remove one of those things, you no longer have a conflict.

Opponent>>> This is something that has a lot more to do with personality than with the particular day of the week. I believe that most people that refrain from voting would do so regardless of the day of the week chosen. And as a civil servant, I'm glad to have an extra day off. I'm sure that many teachers and students also appreciate the day off when the school is used for voting.

>+>+> Most people do not even receive this day off.

>+>+> The greater good is for Election Day to be more conveinent. This will increase voter turnout, especially among working class voters. Increased voting turnout is good because it will be closer to the voice of the people, rather than the voices of a few.

Election Day is inconveinent. This is evident in the fact that my opponent's main argument was that 'It is inconveinent, but the inconveinence is good, because it presents a guilt trip to vote and a day off.' Everybody here agrees that Election Day is inconveinent, and the census data shows that the inconveinence is the main reason why people do not vote. If it were more conveinent to vote, common sense tells us, more people would vote.

Vote PRO for the better debater and better position!
GaryBacon

Con

In the previous round I did mention that the jobs that get days off or extra time can cause a guilt trip, but I also stated that it was only a minor objection to your notion.

In this round I will go over some of the arguments you mentioned in your rebuttal, but I will also get to the heart of the problem.

In response to my mentioning of time off, you claim that most people will not give in to the guilt trip. You stated in the last round "Many workers who do get this break do not give into the guilt trip, but instead use the time for something else."

Now I'm not sure if this is true or not. However, if we assume that it is true, then your argument suffers much more than mine. For if people that are given extra time choose to do something with that time other than voting, then Saturday elections would be meaningless. The people would use that extra time for something else. That statement has not been thought through to its proper conclusion.

Your inferences on the economic disasters that occur due to some extra time off or one extra day a year are rather far fetched. First of all, the economy falling apart because of a single day off or a slightly longer lunch break is a ridiculous notion. Psychologically, breaks and days off can make a worker more productive. Never allowing such breaks decreases productivity much more and is far more devastating to the company.

The direction that you have gone with as far as the guilt trip is highly creative and amusing. But realistically, it is also quite ridiculous. You go from a guilt trip causing psychological damage to a person drinking and driving. Then that person apparently kills someone who was one day away from curing AIDS. Was that serious? This is even more far fetched than your economic example.

Nevertheless, the days off and the guilt trips were only a minor point to reveal in Round 1. Now I will get to the true problem with your idea.

The United States is a country that was founded on the idea of freedom. The Bill of Rights is often used as an example of the rights and freedoms that U.S. citizens should have. The first amendment reads as follows:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

If there are to be no laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion, then how can you justify making election day a Saturday?

A denomination of Protestant Christians known as Seventh-day Adventists celebrate their Sabbath on Saturday. Changing the day of the election to a day that prevents followers of a religion from voting is clearly wrong.

Furthermore, religious Jews also celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday. So now we have two separate religions that you wish to eliminate from the election process simply because it is more convenient for you!

Well this is not how America works. You cannot place people with a decision between following their religion or voting.

In the last round you stated "Lower class voters often do not get breaks for Election Day. This is unfair to lower class voters."

But the polls open up at 7:00 A.M. and close at 8:00 or 9:00 P.M. The lower class will still have time to go to the polls either before or after work.

This is not the case with the religious denominations mentioned. With them it is not a mere inconvenience to get up earlier, or to go vote after work before heading home. They cannot both practice their religion and vote if the elections were changed to a Saturday.

I know of no religious denominations that celebrate their Sabbath on a Tuesday, and therefore it is culturally fair to leave election day as the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. It is true that most people have work that day, but there is time for both voting and going to work.

You ended your last round with the statement "Vote PRO for the better debater and better position!" But in light of the fact that a Saturday election is clearly biased, I don't believe you have the right to claim the better position.
Debate Round No. 2
libertarian

Pro

Opponent>>> Now I'm not sure if this is true or not. However, if we assume that it is true, then your argument suffers much more than mine. For if people that are given extra time choose to do something with that time other than voting, then Saturday elections would be meaningless. The people would use that extra time for something else. That statement has not been thought through to its proper conclusion.
Rebuttal>+>+> This seems like a nice point at a glance, but it is really turned in my favor. Your argument is destroyed. I do not think that Americans are sent into a guilt trip. I think Americans want to vote, but the reason they are not voting is because of the inconveinence as surveys and Census data suggests. If voting was more conveinent for Americans, they would vote, because it makes people feel responsible and helps them express themselves. People like voting. They do not like going way out of their way to vote on a Tuesday. When Americans have a much more conveinent time voting, they vote. This is what all relevant data suggests.

Opponent>>> Your inferences on the economic disasters that occur due to some extra time off or one extra day a year are rather far fetched. First of all, the economy falling apart because of a single day off or a slightly longer lunch break is a ridiculous notion.
Rebuttal>+>+> When Americans work they are making money for their boss. The company is also more likely to do well if it is open more often, because it is more time the employees get practice, more money is being generated, and the company name is getting out. A day off hurts that company and if as many companies as you suggest get this day off, millions of company suffer each Election Day. Even if there is a very small probability as you suggest, which there is not, it's only common sense, there is no reason to put our economy at risk, even a small one, when it can all be avoided. You wouldn't take a nap in the middle of the road, because there is a small probabilty a car would come. There is no sense in taking unnecessary risks. Especially, not with our fragile, internationally influential economy.

Opponent>>> Psychologically, breaks and days off can make a worker more productive. Never allowing such breaks decreases productivity much more and is far more devastating to the company.
Rebuttal>+>+> A break may make them more productive, but a guilt trip will not. Guilt will make people sad or angry and cloud their judgment, which is bad for them and bad for society. Guilt makes people feel unhappy. Why would you send people through this guilt trip and make them sad or angry when it can be avoided by simply rescheduling Election Day.

Opponent>>> The direction that you have gone with as far as the guilt trip is highly creative and amusing. But realistically, it is also quite ridiculous. You go from a guilt trip causing psychological damage to a person drinking and driving. Then that person apparently kills someone who was one day away from curing AIDS. Was that serious? This is even more far fetched than your economic example.
Rebuttal>+>+> The probability is very high of this happening. Really think about it. Guilt trips will make people think of their guilt. It will make them sad or angry. This will cloud their judgment. (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tutorials/depression/mh019101.pdf; www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080208/news_lz1n8read.html) If their judgment is harmed, they may do something stupid or ease the pain with drugs or alcohol. However, they still have to drive back to work later or sometimes they just drive anyway. This leads to drinking and driving, which kills people. No sensible person would risk lives when they could simply be saved.

And if you don't think that they will ease the pain with drugs or alcohol, it is still true that they will have clouded judgment, because they have guilt. This clouded judgment can lead to very bad decisions and definitely bad work, reducing economic productivity. There is no reason to cloud people's judgment unnecessarily when it can simply be avoided.

Opponent>>> The United States is a country that was founded on the idea of freedom. The Bill of Rights is often used as an example of the rights and freedoms that U.S. citizens should have. The first amendment reads as follows:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

If there are to be no laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion, then how can you justify making election day a Saturday? Seventh Day Adventists and some Jews worship on Saturday.
Rebuttal>+>+> Wow. This is pretty funny that you would actually post that. This is really reeaching. It shows how desperate you are to find flaws. Well, the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Saint John the Baptist and has special services dedicated to him. So then it should be moved from Tuesday. The fact is that there is going to be a religious service each day, but Election Day has to be some day.

Also, Seventh Day Adventists and Jews do not worship all day. They can find time to vote.

The vast majority of the population are not Seventh Day Adventists or Jewish. My case outweighs your case. More voters are likely to vote, if the day is Saturday, because it will be more convenient and not conflict with work.

If a church service that lasts only a few hours hinders a person from voting, then work on a Tuesday must significantly hinder a person from voting.

These voters if they will stay at church all day after service is over for some reason, can use an absentee or mail-in ballot to vote. It does not stop them from voting, and is therefore not unconstitutional.

Also, the people have the right to exercise their religion still. It does not prohibit them and is obviously not unconstitutional.

Opponent>>> But the polls open up at 7:00 A.M. and close at 8:00 or 9:00 P.M. The lower class will still have time to go to the polls either before or after work.
Rebuttal>+>+> The point is convenience. And your statement is untrue. Many lower class voters work mulitple jobs. And ride public transportation, which in most places takes a very long time and will not allow them to get to a polling place and work in time. Why would you deny certain people with tight working schedules and/or less tranportation accessibilty the ability to vote when they could have a chance on a day when most Americans are not working?

My case proves to be better. I proved advantages to my plan, which includes much higher voter turnout. I responded to all his arguments. He has no reason as to why Tuesday is a more advantageous day to have an Election Day. The Saturday Plan is much more beneficial than the Tuesday Plan. The Saturday Plan is also more fair to working voters. It gives everybody a chance to participate in the process. Thank you for reading. Please vote PRO!
GaryBacon

Con

In previous rounds you stated that when given extra time to vote, most people use it for other purposes. I rightly pointed out that this hurts your argument, since Saturdays grant extra time and if people use extra time for something else, they would not vote.

You say it is a nice point at a glance, but turned in your favor and my argument is destroyed. You did not show how that actually happens.

You then state "If voting was more convenient for Americans, they would vote, because it makes people feel responsible and helps them express themselves. People like voting. They do not like going way out of their way to vote on a Tuesday. When Americans have a much more convenient time voting, they vote. This is what all relevant data suggests."

What data could this possibly be? The Tuesday election days have been around for a long time. We cannot possibly have data that show people voting more on alternate days.

As far as your economics point, we both disagree. You feel that one extra day off per year, or even a slightly longer lunch break during election day will severely damage the economy due to lack of productivity on that one day. Now I am well aware of the fact that our economy is not very good at the moment. But if it is so fragile that an extended hour on election day sends us into a downward spiral, then we are in much more trouble than even the economists claim.

Furthermore, I would like to point out that the day off for teachers, civil servants, et cetera has been in effect for quite some time. If such things damaged the economy in the way you claim, then we would not have had such economically prosperous years in the past as these days off and extended lunch breaks were still around back then.

Your other claim was that guilt trips can lead to psychological damage which in turn can lead to drinking and driving. The drinking and driving can in turn lead to someone getting behind the wheel and killing a person that is one day away from curing AIDS.

Despite your attempts to show that guilt can cause psychological damage, I still stick to my claim that your scenario is far-fetched and a bit ridiculous. I suppose the voters will decide that.

Then I point out the main flaw in your argument (i.e. that the Sabbath occurs on Saturday for some religions). To this you reply "Wow. This is pretty funny that you would actually post that. This is really [reaching]. It shows how desperate you are to find flaws." I'm sorry that you feel that excluding entire religious sects from voting is inconsequential. But I, for one, disagree.

You also state "Well, the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Saint John the Baptist and has special services dedicated to him. So then it should be moved from Tuesday. The fact is that there is going to be a religious service each day, but Election Day has to be some day."

You seem to have a huge misconception about Sabbath observers. The Sabbath is not a mere religious service. Followers are forbidden from taking part in any secular activity on that day. That includes voting! They are not merely skipping out on a religious service. You are downplaying the importance of the Sabbath to the followers of Judaism and the Seventh Day Adventists.

You also state "Also, Seventh Day Adventists and Jews do not worship all day. They can find time to vote."

You are clearly unfamiliar with the customs of such people. They happen to worship from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. This means that they may not be allowed to leave home until after the polls close. Maybe a few years ago you would've had a point that they can vote at night. But on August 8, 2005 as per the Energy Policy Act, Daylight Saving Time was extended into November. Since many polls close by 8:00 P.M. this means that it may still be light out.

You cannot select a day for voting that discriminates against entire religious groups.

You also state "The vast majority of the population are not Seventh Day Adventists or Jewish. My case outweighs your case. More voters are likely to vote, if the day is Saturday, because it will be more convenient and not conflict with work."

This is a dangerous mindset. The fact that the majority of people do not follow these religions does not imply that it is acceptable to eliminate them from the voting process. This notion that you are implying falls in line with a concept known as Tyranny of the Majority. This concept was mentioned by John Stuart Mill in his work On Liberty. The philosophy regarding the rights of citizens took this concept into account and using things like a bill of rights, constitutional limits and electoral colleges has tried to prevent such a thing from occurring.

Just because the majority of citizens do not practice those religions, that is not cause to say that we have a right to make election day fall on their Sabbath.

You state "If a church service that lasts only a few hours hinders a person from voting, then work on a Tuesday must significantly hinder a person from voting." Once again you show your complete ignorance by this statement. It is not a few hours. It is from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday.

The absentee ballots, as you claim, could be used for these people. But I still see a huge problem with having everyone of a certain faith apply for an absentee ballot while everyone else can simply vote in person.

You also state "Also, the people have the right to exercise their religion still. It does not prohibit them and is obviously not unconstitutional." It doesn't prohibit them from following their religion, but it does prohibit them from both voting and following their religion. They should not be forced to choose.

It seems to me that you view a mild inconvenience of the majority more severe than extreme bias and discrimination towards people of certain faiths. I highly disagree.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by libertarian 9 years ago
libertarian
Well, Lwerd, I find it concerning that you are making such an effort to catch me in plagirism. You caught me in it once and I apologized and forfeited the debate. However, here, no plagirism is taking place. I think it is highly coincidental that some of the same words were used. But we were talking about the same subject! Please let me continue my debate.
Posted by Danielle 9 years ago
Danielle
libertarian, I'm glad at your efforts to keep plagiarism to a minimal. Now you're only borrowing a few sentences here and there and making some shorter to sound less... intelligent? Still, you really should be citing sources that you borrow a great deal of information from, including this snippet:

"Farmers needed a day to get to the county seat, a day to vote, and a day to get back, without interfering with the three days of worship. So that left Tuesday and Wednesday, but Wednesday was market day. So, Tuesday it was."

http://www.facebook.com...

Funny, that sounds a lot like...

"In 1845, Congress had to decide when to let Americans vote. It took a very long time to travel. Farmers needed a day to get to the county seat, a day to vote, and a day to get back, without interfering with the time of worship. So they chose Tuesday. Because Wednesday was market day."

I dunno man. The sad part is that this is one of the least bits of plagiarism I've seen you use. I've called you out on it before, and it's disheartening to see this repeated use of other people's words and information and trying to pass them off as your own. I know it's inevitable in many cases but far too often you seem to have no problem with this issue. I don't think I'll be voting for you, even though I support the WHY TUESDAY? movement, found here:

http://whytuesday.org...

So anyway, I'll have to ask you... again... to please stop plagairizing on debate.org. It's really not the end of the friggin world whether you win or lose. Try including your own insight in addition to CITED sources and information. Your dishonesty is really unbecoming. Isn't it about time you make a new account anyway?
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