Why Tuesday?

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Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?

The answer may surprise you.

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.

Today, we are an urban society, and we all know how hard it is to commute to our jobs, take care of the children, and get our work done, let alone stand on lines to vote. Indeed, Census data over the last decade clearly indicates that the inconvenience of voting is the primary reason Americans are not participating in our elections.

If we can move Columbus Day, Presidents’ Day, and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Holiday for the convenience of shoppers, why not make Election Day more convenient for the sake of voters? First and foremost, it is time to end the deafening silence of good people on this vitally important issue. So we ask: Why Tuesday?

182 Responses to “Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?”

  1. Oliver Says:

    I think voting should be mandatory unless a special op-out for the few that it could be a problem for or those who have lost the right through in process.

  2. Carolyn Ericsson Says:

    I don’t understand the Electoral Congress. My vote, many times , won’t even count. Needs to be changed to popular vote, not Party vote, which can be so biased. What makes the Party think they should have the final decision of who gets into the White House.

  3. Donald J. Trump Says:

    DJ Trump also says, If you vote on Tuesday you’re an american, an other you’re a Mexican homo. Also if you don’t vote Trump, you’re a big dummy. If you believe Obama should stay in office, you’ll be disappointed to know that his birth certificate is not in Hawaii as he so claims, but is actually on Pluto. You want a non-american on the throne? Then prepare for martians and marshmallow roasting. Also Sunday is a horrible day to vote that’s the day I go to my pleasure chamber in Trumpity Towers. Sunday is the day Gay Rights Movements to place, you really be voting for your next ruler while rainbows and unicorns who call themselves men wait and scream for rights that they already have? You’re already allowed to be gay, do they really need more? That’s dumb move there dummy Dave.

  4. Cathy Says:

    Are you still active? I am hoping to advocate for weekend polling, for our local consolidated elections. Currently in Illinois, schools are the number one polling place. School districts need be more security conscious, and having hundreds of folks walk through the doors on school days, puts students at risk. Any advice, or recent activity on this work at the national level?

  5. Steven Huff Says:

    Perhaps we should move voting to Saturday.

  6. Dain Saint Wants to Change the Game for Election Day with Free the Vote | Geekadelphia Says:

    […] As for why Election Day is on a Tuesday, it goes back to 1845 when we traveled by horse and buggy an… Congress just never decided to update this day to work better for the voters even though times have changed. There’s no law keeping this day in place. […]

  7. Mark Says:

    I think there are serious flaws to the arguments of this website and other groups who are pushing for Election Day to be a national holiday. Martin Luther King Junior Day, Presidents’ Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, these are all federal holidays, yet most working Americans do not get these days off from work, because the federal government has no power to mandate private employers give these days off and culture and convention has not come to expect we be given these days off. Making Election Day a national holiday will be no different. And frankly, one does not need to get the entire day off to go vote. All we need to do is encourage employers to be understanding (as many already are) of employees who come in late or leave early on election day. Also, with so many states allowing early voting which one can do on Saturdays, even strict employers are no longer an excuse not to vote.






  9. maa durgachalisa Says:

    i still not belive that how the day is chosen for voting

  10. Chuck Says:

    Im 52 when i was young there was no school on election..so for the safety sake schools that are polling spots should not be in sesion that day ..or make it a faculty day and hold teachers meeting on same day in a different school not used as a polling site.

  11. John Says:

    To my knowledge, the USA is the ONLY “democratic” country in the World where Election Day occurs on a “work day”, however, most voters (depending on the State) have the option to vote “early”, either by mail or at select locations. Since it requires an “Act of Congress” to change the official “first Tuesday in November”,…I don’t see that happening! However, pressure needs to be placed at the State level to secure access to “Early Voting” so that everyone who wants to vote, and is eligible to do so, can do just that!

  12. Why Election Day falls on the latest possible day this year – YourNuz Says:

    […] that we should move Election Day to a weekend or make it a national holiday. Some groups argue that, by scheduling Election Day on a Tuesday, when most Americans are required to work, […]

  13. anonymus Says:

    vote trump

  14. anonymus Says:

    because we are americans on tuseday

  15. Landen Andrew Says:

    Donald J. trump is just saying lies so that he can hide that he is the biggest racist and sexiest known to man kind and that if he becomes POTUS, we might see the 2nd ever impeachment. Donald Trump tells more lies than the amount of pounds he ways. So I say let the black guy keep going. And also if you call Obama a alien, then why is trump the color Orange. Talking about colored people.

  16. m Says:

    This was passed in 1845 for a very 1845 reason, so farmer guy that has been dead for over 100 years and was very far from a large city didn’t need to miss church.

  17. Vickie for CLINTON Says:

    I just found out early voting was open last Saturday (October), but not this Friday November 5th. Why not all weekend? Most early voting locations only open Monday-Friday 8AM-5PM, but that’s when mnost people are working.

  18. Niki Says:

    Make Elelection Day a national holiday! That way Americans don’t have an excuse to vote.

  19. Niki Says:

    Correction: I mean, NOT to vote! Sorry.

  20. camille riordan Says:

    I feel that you should have polls open Saturdays
    and not on Tuesday which is inconvenient for most Americans…I do not believe in early voting
    because sometimes voters change their minds
    before the campaign ends.

  21. David Says:

    It’s on Tuesday to avoid interfering with any religions Sabbath. If you move it to Friday/Saturday, Jews can’t vote. Move it to Sunday people will use church as an excuse. That is 3 days there where it presents an issue. Monday people are returning to the office and are catching up on things to do from the weekend. So now you have Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday to choose from.

  22. Választások – előtte – ddays in dc Says:

    […] közepe lehetett jó, és mivel a szerda volt a piac napja, így maradt a kedd. (Ez mind komoly, itt le lehet ellenőrizni.) Ja, hogy ma már ez nem annyira praktikus? Sebaj, azért csak nem változtatták meg, pedig már […]

  23. Which Day of the Week Should Elections Be Held? [POLL] Says:

    […] As it turns out, there is a reason, albeit very obscure why we have to cast our ballots on this day. […]

  24. Steve Says:

    For an advanced country like the USA, voting on Tuesday is so behind the times. Make it a Saturday..Allow pre voting. No changing your mind if prevote, that way, you are the same as everyone else.

  25. Jenni Says:

    Hi I am Australian we have compulsory voting and Election Day is a Saturday. The polls open two weeks before hand so if Saturday is a problem you can vote early. Lots of people do it to avoid the queues. The benefit of compulsory voting is that the outcome reflects what everyone thinks. The extremes of the right and left get out voted by the sensible centre when forming Government. We do however get the whole range in the Senate.
    Australia has had universal suffrage since our National Government was formed. So it’s an interesting contrast but seriously it’s the 21st Century so how about electronic voting being open for a week?

  26. Larry Breed Says:

    Why not change the day we celebrate George Washington’s Birthday? Why not celebrate our first president’s birthday on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January?

  27. doug spencer Says:

    It ought to be on a sunday. no other country in the world does elections on a weekday.

  28. Jane Says:

    I feel like Sunday should be the voting day in the US. Tuesday is just so inconveniant for many people that it’s going to lower the vote count and make only the really extremists vote

  29. John Says:

    Sunday would be inconvenient for Christians.

    We should,

    1. Move the voting day to Saturday.
    2. Ultimately abolish the electoral college
    (Or at least encourage the states to abolish the winner-takes-it-all policy.)

    Even if we achieve only 1., our elections wouldn’t be as ridiculous as they are now.

  30. Zander Says:

    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.

  31. Patrick Says:

    In France they last voted on a Sunday. France is despite the Bourbon legacy a largely Catholic country, yet they vote on Sunday. The day has not seemed to change the outcome – Macron defeated LePen 2-1, a large margin by American, or any, standard – though, the flip side of it is that with all of the problems facing France, including the Byzantine regulatory landscape that keeps growth and employment down, someone whose sole message was “kick the Moors out” still got 1 out of 3 votes… It is doubtful that voting on the Lord’s Day pushed more people to vote LePen, or that turnout would have been significantly different had the election been held, say, on a Wednesday – and that’s not because of the 35 hour workweek – they take a long lunch and still get home late.

    “Why Tuesday” is a good question. The reasons behind Tuesday voting are, as you note, arcane.

    But the idea that, in the US, Tuesday favors conservatives or Republicans is silly. If you miss voting because you have a long commute to a white collar job downtown, you got stuck in a meeting that ran long, and thus couldn’t get out of the office soon enough to make it to the polls on time, then unless you’re a masochist, you are unlikely to have voted for another tax hike. And most of us are not masochists. You might have voted against Trump for obvious reasons but generally speaking you’re not fiscally liberal -because that would be self-defeating.

    Also, the idea that Voter ID is the equivalent of Jim Crow is also silly. You need a photo ID to open a bank account, start a new job, board an airplane, board an Amtrak train, fill a prescription for a controlled substance, drive, and you can be asked for a photo ID to buy alcohol, buy tobacco, or get into an over-21 club. Most of these requirements have been in place for decades. The percentage of the population that has done none of these things in the last 40 years is very small, and the idea that minorities don’t work or have bank accounts is itself racist. The requirement may be an inconvenience to destitute rural octogenarians, and perhaps that ought to be remedied, but there aren’t enough destitute rural octogenarians to sway the vote – if there’s a GOP operative who has spent millions of GOP dollars trying to suppress the destitute rural octogenarian vote, then he or she should be fired for incompetence.

  32. John Says:

    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. For example, before a priest may perform a marriage, he must be presented with a certificate stating that the couple already has been married civilly.

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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

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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?