Why do we vote on Tuesdays? People across the United States will cast their ballots on Tuesday, Nov. 8. (AP Photo/David Dermer/Melinda Deslatte)
Why do we vote on Tuesdays?
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On Nov. 8, Americans will head to the voting booth and cast their ballots for the next president of the United States. As always, this time-honored tradition falls on a Tuesday, but why? The answer, it turns out, has a lot to do with buggies and farmers markets.
 
The Founding Fathers met at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, NPR explains, but at the end of the meeting they still had not resolved a number of questions about how to run an entire nation. One of those issues involved the timing of federal elections. As a quick fix, they decided to leave it to individual states to set their own voting days, which led to several decades of "electoral chaos," NPR writes, with random elections held at all different times, all over the country.
 
In 1845, Congress decided to straighten things out. Monday was out, lawmakers reasoned, since people would have to travel to the polls in their buggies on Sunday, which wouldn't sit well with church-goers. Wednesday wouldn't work, either, since mid-week usually meant market day for farmers, and most citizens at the time were farmers. Again, Thursday didn't fit the bill because of the buggy-traveling time allocation (which would cut into market day). And Friday? Well, NPR doesn't say, but who wants to deal with such a serious issue at the very end of the week?

So, Tuesday was the day, and that seemed to work great for 19th century voters.
 
"In the 1840s, elections were a big to-do - there was a lot of hoopla, there were parades," Ritchie says. "Whole families would come on wagons from the farms; people would get dressed up for the occasion."
 
Though the America of buggies and markets has long since given way to minivans and supermarkets, NPR concludes, Tuesday remains the day we vote.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why aren't most Americans farmers now?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (137)
  • zakrym-ste
    10/28/2016 - 08:20 a.m.

    The election day always happens on a Tuesday because of certain reasons. They cannot have it on Monday because church goers would have to start traveling on Sunday and they would not like that. Wednesday is market day for farmers and most people were farmers at the time. Thursday would not work either because the farmers would have to miss market day. So it is Tuesday.

  • brucem-lam
    10/28/2016 - 08:46 a.m.

    The reason why we vote on Tuesdays is pretty interesting, in the 1700's, the states use to pick the days they wanted to vote on, causing "electoral chaos". so we decided the day couldn't be Monday because that's when Christians went to church. Wednesday wouldn't work either because that was market day and keeping in mind most people at the time were farmers. so the only logical time to vote was on Tuesday.

  • samh-lam
    10/28/2016 - 10:47 a.m.

    I think that the way they chose the voting day was pretty interesting. This taught me more about what people would do on week-days and weekends and how important there daily lives and jobs were.

  • joshb2-lam
    10/28/2016 - 10:51 a.m.

    I never would have really thought that would be why we vote on Tuesdays. I would have guessed it would have been because of some type of government problem, not for the convenience of the people.

  • josephj-lam
    10/28/2016 - 11:56 a.m.

    This is interesting. Why can't they do it on a weekend? The article never talked about that. Is the electing day supposed to be on Tuesday, or can they move it legally if something else is happening?

  • hannahm-lam
    10/28/2016 - 04:02 p.m.

    I really enjoy the idea that we vote the same day of the week every time. For two reasons, I think it was very considering of the government when they first started voting on Tuesday's to think about some of the obligations people may have and working around them for everyone. I also like that we still vote on Tuesday's because it shows something from our history that we haven't changed. Even though we don't have obligations like travel time anymore we still stick to our old ways and vote on Tuesdays.

  • raegannm1-mel
    11/01/2016 - 09:38 a.m.

    Most Americans are not farmers now because we get supplies from most of the people that are still farmers. We don't have to supply for ourselves anymore. We get our food from some other countries and we give them something in return.

  • jonib1-mel
    11/01/2016 - 09:43 a.m.

    I think it could be because they want to change the day they vote . I think it could also be because there are less farming jobs.

  • isaacb1-mel
    11/01/2016 - 09:45 a.m.

    The reason I think that most people aren't farmers anymore is because we get a lot of are food now by trading with different countries, therefore we don't need farmers as much to produce food. Also, more people are getting different jobs because there are many jobs in the United States nowadays.

  • kaileew-ste
    11/01/2016 - 02:04 p.m.

    Every year, Americans come to the voting booths to make a very important decision that will affect their lives for at least four years. This usually happens on a Tuesday, which is odd. In 1845, other than Tuesday, every day of the week was a problem for farmers whether they were riding in a buggie or selling food at a farmers market. I think it is cool that we have kept this tradition for so long.

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