Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Why November? Why Tuesday?

Vote Button Election Elect Campaign PatrioIts that time of the year again, when national voting of some sort happens.  One always knows that there is an election on the first Tuesday of November but when did that start? When did the time become nationalized?

Originally, elections could be held within 34 days of the first Wednesday in December.  States had the right to choose the date within that month span. 

The main reason for this change is that with elections spread out over a month, it was quite possible that the results of the early elections could change voters minds and change the results of the elections. Furthermore, in the first election they wanted elections to be completed before the Electoral College met on the first Wednesday in December in 1792. 

However in 1845, Congress changed the laws so presidential elections had to happen on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November.  This was done to avoid having elections on the first of November which all Saints Day.

Tuesday was chosen for a very practical reason in 1845.  Much of the economy was agriculturally based and farmers needed to be able to get to markets on Wednesday and church was held on Sundays.  Add in the fact that most voters had to travel up to a day to get to the polling place, the best day to hold elections was  Tuesday. 

In addition, November was the perfect month because it fell between harvest and the winter months. They couldn't have it any earlier or it might interfere with planting, caring, or harvesting crops.  Any later in the year, and people might not be able to get to polling places.

The first election, this law applied to came three years later in 1848 when Zachery Taylor beat Lewis Cass in the presidential election.  Then in 1872, Congress moved the House of Representative elections to the same day as presidential elections. Then when the 17th amendment was enacted in 1913, it too was covered by the first Tuesday in November election rule.  If you aren't sure, the 17th amendment is the one covering the number of senators assigned to each state.

To accompany the set national election day, they also moved the beginning of the Electoral College from December to the second  Monday in January beginning in 1887 but another change on this was made in 1936 so all Electoral College members meet in their respective states on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December to vote.

So now you know why the election is always in the beginning of November.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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