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Blast From The Past

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Now we know Americans have been asking “why do we vote on Tuesday?” — as we do here — for almost 100 years!

In doing some research today I stumbled upon this letter to the editor of the New York Times, with a response, dated November 1, 1910! George Hegeman of Newark, New Jersey was curious, like we are today, about why Americans vote on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. He wrote:

Will you inform me why it is that election day in many Sates is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November? I have asked many of my friends, but nobody knows. Newspaper people are supposed to know everything, so I appeal to you and would thank you very heartily for the information.

What did the Times respond?

Click the image below for an up-close look. The answer they give — which is accurate but not the entire answer (which you can find here) — revolves around making sure that Election Day does not conflict with meetings of the Electoral Colleges.

NYT, 1910

If only George Hegeman knew that Chris Rock would take up his cause nearly a century later!

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Why Tuesday? is a non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2005 to find solutions to increase voter turnout and participation in elections... More

The Answer

In 1845, before Florida, California, and Texas were states or slavery had been abolished, Congress needed to pick a time for Americans to vote... More

Recent Comments

Patrick, France is a post-Christian secular country. Relatively few of them attend church, and voting on Sunday does not interfere with their religious practices, because most of the population is not religious...

Posted by John on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?

In France they last voted on a Sunday. France is despite the Bourbon legacy a largely Catholic country, yet they vote on Sunday...

Posted by Patrick on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?

I think weekend voting would make the most sense, as people wouldn't have tu run home after work or wake up early to hit the polling stations beforehand.

Posted by Zander on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?