The historical significance of specific voting practices in the U.S. may be well documented, but do you know why we really vote on Tuesday?
While it seems the long-running practice of voting on a specified day of the week is carefully contrived, it turns out the origin of the tradition is rooted more in convenience than policy. According to an eye-opening overview by NPR, the second Tuesday in November was selected as the official voting day due to basic factors relating to the economy, religion, seasonal weather patterns and practicality. For example, back in 1845 when the practice was first established, many Americans worked as farmers and needed adequate time to travel to the few polling places available, since cars weren’t quite a thing yet. Sundays were crossed off the list of potential voting days so as not to interfere with church plans, and the first of the month was nixed to allow businesses time to do their books.
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On the political front, members of Congress also expressed concern with Election Day falling on the first of the month for fear that economic success or failures would have too much of an influence on voters’ decisions at the polls.
In recent years, efforts to move Election Day to the weekend in hopes of getting more people to the polls have been widely discussed, however, no approved revisions to the practice have been put in place just yet.
How does the Tuesday Election Day impact your voting experience?