Why we vote on Tuesday

26 Oct

This is from a website called Mental Floss.

It’s a great place to hang out if you like learning off-the-wall facts to impress people at your next cocktail party.

We’re thinking of you, Uncle Markie.

Ever wonder why Americans always vote in federal elections on Tuesdays?

According to NPR, there are a few reasons—including a little something to do with the horse and buggy.

Between 1788 and 1845, states decided their own voting dates.

That strategy resulted in chaos: a crazy quilt of elections held all across the country at different times to pick the electors.

In 1792, a law was passed mandating that state elections be held within a 34-day period before that day, so most elections took place in November.

The reason was the harvest was finished but winter hadn’t yet hit, making it the perfect time to vote.

The slow pace of presidential elections wasn’t a huge issue in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Communication was slow, so results took weeks to announce anyway.

But along came the railroad and telegraph, and Congress decided it was time to standardize a date.

Monday was out, because it would require people to travel to the polls by buggy on the Sunday Sabbath.

Wednesday was also not an option, because it was market day, and farmers wouldn’t be able to make it to the polls.

So by process of elimination, Congress decided that Tuesday would be the day that Americans would vote in elections, and in 1845, it a law that presidential elections would be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Now you know.

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