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Why Exactly do we Vote on a Tuesday?

Inconvenience is a word that can come to mind when thinking of voting trends in our country. Of all the days America could choose to vote on, why Tuesday?

11-7-16votingtuesdayPhoto courtesy of Google

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Since 1845, Americans have been voting on Tuesdays for several important reasons. Although most of those reasons do not affect American society today, the tradition still holds true.

To really get an understanding of how this tradition came to be, let’s take it back to 19th century America, where the land spreads far and wide and paved roads are nowhere to be seen.

As an agricultural society most people spent their time farming. By November, the harvest was over and farming became less of a priority. Every Sunday you would surely find most of the town residents in church.

You can imagine that traveling was difficult and getting to polls could take hours. Cars were not around until the 20th century and highway systems were not authorized until 1956.

So Tuesdays were pretty convenient for early American citizens.

However, as time went on the need to vote on the second Tuesday in November became more apparent.

In an NPR article by journalist Domenico Montanaro, the reasons for the chosen day to vote are put into clear perspective.

“Lawmakers wanted to prevent Election Day from falling on the first of November for three reasons religion, business and, of course, politics.”

The first Tuesday of November could be a religious holiday for many Christians, All Saints Day. This day will find many believers visiting churches to give thanks.

Business owners typically do bookkeeping and inventory the first week of the month, which would have been a major inconvenience before the development of computers.

“Members of Congress were worried that the economic success or failure of the previous month might prove an undue influence on the vote,” Montanaro said in his article.

While all of these reasons were valid during early America, many people today hope to change these policies.

The Weekend Voting Act and a group known as Why Tuesday have been trying to make changes to the way Americans vote for years, but have been rejected by Congress for nearly a decade.

While voters could benefit from convenience, changing the election date to the weekend does not seem economically feasible to me.

Government officials work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Working on the weekends would cause them to work overtime and be a drain on taxpayers’ money.

I also think it is nice to hold onto a tradition that was created at the foundation of our country.

Individuals always have the option to vote absentee and mail in ballots or they could participate in early election days.  

So as we face the 2016 Presidential Election, whether you vote early or not, put an importance on voting and let your voice be heard.

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Sierra Thompson

Sierra Thompson

Sierra Thompson is an editor for MBU Timeline. She is majoring in communication studies and minoring in business administration. Thompson is a member of the softball team at MBU. In her free time she loves to travel, watch movies and spend time with her family and friends.

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