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History of Election Day

Have you ever wondered why Election Day always falls on a Tuesday? Not just any Tuesday, but the Tuesday following the first Monday in November?

Before 1845, you were able to vote anytime you wanted within a 34-day period before the first Wednesday in December. But early voting results were influencing the opinions of last-minute voters who were able to sway the outcome of the election. So in 1845, Congress passed a federal law designating the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November as Election Day.

You may be wondering, why so specific? It all goes back to life in the 1800’s, where most citizens worked as farmers. People typically needed a full day to travel and vote, so lawmakers decided they would allow a two-day window for Election Day. Weekends wouldn’t work because most people were in church on Sundays and Wednesdays served as market day for farmers. For this reason, Tuesday was selected as Election Day.

Farm culture decided why we hold our elections in November. Spring and early summer interfered with planting season. Late summer and early fall interfered with the harvest. So late fall was the perfect time!

So don’t forget to vote tomorrow, November 8th!





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