Posted by: darmonation | November 4, 2008

Why is Election Day on Tuesday?

After having two separate conversations with buddies of mine today, it occurred to me that I don’t really understand why election day falls on a Tuesday every 4 years. One buddy, a political consultant who has been burning the candles at both ends for the last week was saying just how plastered he plans to get when it’s all over, regardless of the victor. Work will suck the following day for him! I asked a second buddy, who is not affiliated with politics in any way aside from his own personal interest, if he was planning on attending one of the many “election day parties” that we’ve both been invited to. He said he’d given it some thought but that Wednesday was going to be a busy day at the office and he really couldn’t afford to be out late celebrating (or commiserating) w/ friends. In fact, he said, “it’s going to be tough for me to even fit voting in tomorrow!” 

So then why isn’t election day on a Saturday? Common sense would seem to indicate that holding the election on a Saturday would be more convenient to the most important people involved in the election – the voters – and therefore more conducive to getting really solid turnout, at the very least, amongst younger generations who are otherwise less inclined to perform their civic duty. I mean, college kids love to tailgate for football games, why, then, wouldn’t they potentially do the same for voting? Just picture it: wake up on a Saturday with nothing to do, call up some buddies, “hey you going to vote?” “yeah sure – let’s all go over there and keep each other company while standing in line, then go out and celebrate/root for our favorite candidate). People could make a day out of voting! 

The other alternative would be to just make it a national holiday so that people don’t have to go to work in exchange for voting – that could also work. If that were the case, I’d suggest it be on a Friday. 

If you know why it’s on Tuesday, please comment! My best googling attempts yielded no answers.

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Responses

  1. Hopefully all your friends live in the same voting district if you want to tailgate together.

  2. the overwhelming response i have received when inquiring why election day is the tuesday after the first monday in november is twofold – 1) november was choosen because farmers (and many other workers) have less work in november between harvesting and preparing for the next season, 2) tuesday was choosen so people had a day to get to polls after they attended church on sunday. like many other aspects of our political process (and even cultural makeup) the basis of election day is rooted in the past and is not applicable any longer. start a petition and get the date moved.


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