RECENT LOCATIONS

Close
Add a location
Edit your saved locations

Weathering the US Election


The 2012 United States presidential election marks the 57th quadrennial presidential election
The 2012 United States presidential election marks the 57th quadrennial presidential election

Staff writers

November 6, 2012 — The United States presidential election is an event that happens once every four years, and one that always falls on the same day: the first Tuesday, after the first Monday in November. It's a date that stems back over one hundred years, and believe it or not, it wasn't government parties who helped make that official "Election Day", but farmers instead.

Getting to the polling stations meant long distance travelling for farmers
Getting to the polling stations meant long distance travelling for farmers

With candidates relentlessly campaigning to increase voter turn-out, one would wonder why the presidential election would be held in early November in the first place, when the prospect of stormy weather would be gradually increasing.

The reason Election Day is held when it is dates back to the agrarian society, when a much larger percentage of the population was composed of farm workers. 

Often times, people would have to travel great distances to get to the polling stations. Even during calm weather, the journey would be taxing, sometimes requiring overnight travel in horse-drawn buggies on un-paved roads. Therefore, much consideration was given as to when such travel would be best achieved.

Congress knew that Election Day would have to be held after the harvest, when farm workers had the most time to spare, but prior to any kind of serious winter weather, in order to attain maximum voter turn-out. Early November was the sensible choice.

So why the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, rather than November 1st? There are two reasons:

1) November 1st was when shopkeepers usually tallied their records from the month before; and

2) November 1st could have fallen on a Sunday, the Christian Sabbath; also it was All Saints Day, a Catholic holy day of obligation.

Therefore, Election Day placement on Tuesday relates to the need to be respectful, be politically correct, and to conform to the customs of the day. 

Sign in or Sign up to submit a comment.




Comments





Take your weather with you, no matter where you go.

Get instant forecasts and alerts, right on your computer.

  • RSS & Data
Add weather updates to your website or RSS reader.