From an historical perspective, why do we hold elections on a Tuesday in November?
It all started in 1845, when Congress passed a federal law designating the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November as Election Day. Prior to that, states could hold elections any time they wanted, as long as it was within a 34-day period before the first Wednesday in December. It turned out that system didn’t work well, because the states that held early elections affected the national voting results in the states that held later elections. Therefore, the U.S. Congress created the current Election Day to standardize the date and process.
Why the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November? The idea was to pick a date that worked best for the most voters. At that time in U.S. history, the majority of voters were farmers. Generally, farmers lived pretty far from town, so they needed a travel day to get to their nearest polling place. Sunday didn’t work, because most Americans went to church. Wednesday didn’t work, because that was “Go to Market Day” in many American communities. So, Congress picked Tuesday, which allowed for a travel day on Monday.
Since America was a farming society, November made the most sense. Spring was planting season, autumn was harvest season, and winter was difficult for travel. So, early November stuck as the best choice to allow the most people the greatest opportunity to vote.
That’s how we got the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November as Election Day in America.