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?
Lexile

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. Random elections were held at all different times, all over the country.
 
In 1845, Congress decided to straighten things out. Monday was out, lawmakers reasoned, because people would have to travel to the polls in their buggies on Sunday. Voting on that day 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.

Filed Under:  
Assigned 223 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why aren't most Americans farmers now?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (12)
  • jnyahp-bur
    10/28/2016 - 01:06 p.m.

    i find that its cool that they considered everyone and shows you how busy america is everyday of the week. Times have changed but they still havent changed the day. its nice to know that in america things like racial judgement and such is sacred but a day is.

  • mhailie-dav
    11/01/2016 - 04:57 p.m.

    In response to "Why do we vote on Tuesdays?," I agree that we should vote on Tuesdays. One reason i agree is that it doesn't cut into to anyones precious time. Another reason is that we don't want farmers to suffer if they loose profit. It says in the article "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. Random elections were held at all different times, all over the country." This wouldn't work out very good. A third reason is that people would have ti ride in buggies" They did not want to have to drive to vote in huge buggies. Even tough i think Tuesday is a great day to vote people may think another day would work better.

  • pjack-dav
    11/02/2016 - 07:32 p.m.

    In response to "Why do we vote on Tuesdays", I agree that Tuesday is a good day to vote. One reason is Tuesday isn't day that people often have to do things on. Another reason is on all the other days the people had things to do. A third reason is Sunday is a religious day and Wednesday is a day where most products are shipped in and out because it is in the middle of the business week. Even though Tuesday isn't an important day, it is a great day to vote.

  • lellanor-dav
    11/03/2016 - 07:13 p.m.

    In response to "Why do we vote on Tuesdays?", i agree that we should vote on Tuesdays. One reason i agree is that Tuesday is the only free day I have in a week. Another reason is that it seems to everyone else that Tuesday is a good day too! It says in the article, "So, Tuesday was the day, and that seemed to work great for 19th century voters". A third reason is that its been a tradition for so long why break it. It was Tuesday since the 19th century. Even though it may not seem that important, but if you really think about it, it kinda is important.

  • wjake-dav
    11/14/2016 - 04:25 p.m.

    I agree that it should be on a Tuesday. I think voting day should be on a Tuesday because church is on Sunday, people are at the market on Wednesday and Friday is a fun day. One quote from the text that proves that voting day should be on a Tuesday is "Sunday. Voting on that day wouldn't sit well with church-goers.". People that go to church would not have the time to vote because they have to go to church. Another quote is "Wednesday wouldn't work, either, since mid-week usually meant market day for farmers". The farmer would have to not get seeds for plants and they will not sell anything because they have nothing to sell then some people will go hungry. One more quote is "And Friday? Well, NPR doesn't say, but who wants to deal with such a serious issue at the very end of the week?". Nobody is going to vote because this is there time to relax there brains. That is why I think voting day is good on a Tuesday.

  • damonc-moo
    11/17/2016 - 11:54 a.m.

    I liked how the have a reason why they vote on Tuesdays every year

  • charlesd-moo
    11/17/2016 - 11:55 a.m.

    I liked this short story and I like how they fight against each other

  • garyw-moo
    11/17/2016 - 12:41 p.m.

    This story was very good! One of the better ones i've read

  • bryanw1-moo
    11/17/2016 - 12:45 p.m.

    alike this article because I agree to vote on Tuesday for we have a great country!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • aspenw-moo
    11/17/2016 - 12:53 p.m.

    well, speaking my father is a farmer, i really don't know. i can guess...that maybe people want to live in public life instead, like shopping and texting. or maybe some people just don't think they have time, or don't like getting dirty.:) b/c when your a farmer, you are usually very busy doing something,like planting,plowing,work,and selling crops. but its work, so most people dont like doing it in general. and i like how they made it a tuesday, and they considered others and not just themselves.i like to think of it as a tridition, and i think it should stay that way. ;)

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT