Alumnus pushes for weekend elections to increase turnout

By Michael Sugerman

Jacob Soboroff ’01 seeks to increase voter turnout as executive director of the website-based organization Why Tuesday?, which pushes legislation to move election day to weekends.

“From the minute I walked into [Vice President] John Amato’s history and politics class in seventh grade, the way he talked about politics made me realize that politics aren’t random, but about how we live our lives on a regular basis,” Soboroff said.

Even if voting days are not moved to weekends, Why Tuesday? aims to increase turnout, as the poll attendance in the United States is one of the lowest in the world. Soboroff, whose father ran for mayor of Los Angeles, was motivated to punch a ballot when he became eligible to vote. He wishes to give the majority of Americans a reason to vote too.

“We want to let young people like Harvard-Westlake students who are voting for the first time know that they should care about voting in our country,” Soboroff said.

Why Tuesday? is working to push the Weekend Voting Act in Congress. The organization said the legislation reserving Tuesdays for voting is outdated and no longer relevant. The United States Government Accountability Office is currently conducting studies on voters to ratify the legislation.

“Just like when your computer slows down and you need a new operating system, America needs a new voting system,” Soboroff said in a CBS interview.

Soboroff joined Why Tuesday? in 2006, one year after its establishment.Soboroff, who manages publicity for Why Tuesday?, has appeared on MSNBC and CBS and posts videos of his interviews with politicians on the Why Tuesday? website. In the 2008 presidential election, Soboroff asked candidates how they would improve voting numbers if elected to office. This week he will travel to Iowa to interview next year’s candidates.

“For me politics are about having your voice heard no matter the issue,” he said. “By not voting, you make as much noise as you want, but you don’t affect the decisions your leaders make.”