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Why do we vote on Tuesday?

November 9, 2012
By Shelby Enlow of Thomas Nelson HS

We vote on Tuesday because in the 1800's when the law was passed that voting would be on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of the month of November, people had to travel by horse and buggy to go vote. Voting was usually in the county seat. The county seat's position was chosen so that the people who lived on the outlying edges of the county could travel by horse and buggy for one day to reach the county seat. It could not be on Monday because people could not travel on a Sunday. It could not be on Wednesday because that was market day in most small towns. Lastly it could not be on Friday because that was at the end of the week and people would be too tired to go vote. Naturally then it fell on a Tuesday, people could ride to the county seat on the Monday, vote Tuesday morning and then ride back home that afternoon. Then they could be home for the market on Wednesday.

The reason that we vote on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November is because we could not vote on November 1st because it is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Catholic Church. Another reason is that many merchants do their book keeping on the first of the month and scheduling an election on that day would interfere with business.

It was in November because the harvest had already been gathered and winter had not yet set in. The day for voting has remained the same since the 1840’s when the law was passed.


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