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Election Day

Election Day

History of Election Day

Election Day is held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November, falling between Nov. 2 and Nov. 8. Federal and/or national elections occur on this day. The date for Election Day was first established in 1845 to appoint presidential electors every four years. In upcoming years U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators were also elected on Election Day in even numbered years.

The date of Election Day was chosen specifically based on the needs of Americans in the 1800s. Early November was a good time for farmers and rural workers to travel to the polls because the weather was usually mild and the fall harvest was over. Lawmakers did not want Election Day to fall on Nov. 1 because it is All Saints Day and merchants often did bookkeeping on the first of each month. The Tuesday following the first Monday of November can never be Nov. 1st, making it a safe choice.

Another aspect that influenced the day chosen was the distance many Americans had to travel. Voters often traveled day or two to get to the county seat to vote. Since Sunday was unacceptable for travel (because of church services and Sunday worship), a Tuesday was chosen for Election Day to allow voters more time to get to the polls.

Voting Information

  • Find a poll near you
  • Register to vote
  • Absentee ballots

  • References

    U.S. Presidential Elections: Electoral College

    Frequently Asked Questions United States Election Assistance Commission.

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