Why do we vote on a Tuesday in November?

Wonder why elections are held on a seemingly random Tuesday in November? The answer lies in rural America.

The first election guideline came in 1788 and it was the first time federal law provided structure to national elections. It said states had to conduct elections for the 1792 race over a 34 day period. 

However, Americans first began the one-day voting period we're familiar with today in 1845. November was chosen because it was after the harvest was done and before winter storms started pushing in.

But why do we vote on the first Tuesday? 

According to history.com, most citizens then worked as farmers and lived far from their polling place. 

"Since people often traveled at least a day to vote, lawmakers needed to allow a two-day window for Election Day."

According to the book Democracy Despite Itself, November 1 was a common day for people to balance their account books and therefore had to be voided as Election Day. Weekends were out of the question for religious reasons and Wednesdays were market days.

Tuesday was chosen as the most convenient day of the week for citizens to vote.

 

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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