Election Day (crossposted at CT)
If I’m not confused by timezone differences, today is election day in Britain and the outcome seems pretty much a foregone conclusion (I haven’t checked the omniscient betting markets, I must admit). So, I’ll look at a more trivial question. If the British government wants to increase voter turnout, why don’t they hold elections on Saturdays instead of Thursdays?
I looked into this question in the case of the US, and there’s a complicated historical explanation, but the central point that, at the time Tuesday was chosen as a polling day, the standard working week was six days, and Sunday was excluded for religious reasons. So it didn’t really matter which day was chosen.
But in an economy where, even with a 24-7 service sector, Saturday is a day off for most people, it seems like a much more convenient choice. For a bunch of reasons, I can’t see the US ever making a change like this. But in Britain it would be easy, and presumably modestly beneficial to Labour, which could therefore push such a change through Parliament any time it wanted.
fn1. First, the US is very conservative in relation to traditions of this kind. Second, the Republican party routinely opposes measures to increase voter turnout.