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Why Is Election Day a Tuesday in November?

December 2, 2019 in History

By Evan Andrews

The answer lies with America’s 19th-century farmers.

Americans first began the custom of weekday voting in 1845, when Congress passed a federal law designating the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November as Election Day.

Before then, states were allowed to hold elections any time they pleased within a 34-day period before the first Wednesday in December, but this system had a few crucial flaws. Knowing the early voting results could affect turnout and sway opinion in states that held late elections, and those same last-minute voters could potentially decide the outcome of the entire election. Faced with these issues, Congress created the current Election Day in the hope of streamlining the voting process.

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