Why Tuesday

Most Americans accept the fact that in the United States, we vote on the first Tuesday of every other November. But why?

In 1845, before Florida, California, and Texas were states or slavery had been abolished, Congress needed to pick a time for Americans to vote. We were an agrarian society. We traveled by horse and buggy. Farmers needed a day to get to the county seat, a day to vote, and a day to get back, without interfering with the three days of worship. So that left Tuesday and Wednesday, but Wednesday was market day. So, Tuesday it was. In 1875 Congress extended the Tuesday date for national House elections and in 1914 for federal Senate elections.

As much as regular folks like Sarah Palin and her minority husband Todd fetishize bucolic America, it’s no longer 1845 and we no longer vote exclusively at the county seat, travel by horse and buggy, or have such a thing called “Market Day.” What we have however, are workdays that — especially for non-salaried employees — act as an impediment to participating in elections. Why can’t it be a holiday? Learn more about the issue and see what you can do to help at Why Tuesday?

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