SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Why are elections held on Tuesday in November? Many Americans have asked this question and over time some have debated changing the date.
First we researched why elections are historically held on Tuesdays. Let’s read our mini history lesson below:
According to History.com, in 1845 Congress passed a federal law designating the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November as Election Day. This was decided primarily because of 19th-Century American culture, with farming, weather and religious concerns.
Some people traveled at least one-day to vote so lawmakers couldn’t make the date on weekends to not interfere with the sabbath. Tuesday in November was selected due to farming culture because spring and early summer elections would interfere with plantings season while late summer and early fall elections overlapped with harvest, according to History.com.
But the United States has changed and some people say the date should be moved because Tuesday is a inconvenient work day. According to CNN.com, in the last midterm election -- 2014 -- just over 36 percent of the voting eligible population actually voted. That’s the lowest percentage turnout in more than 70 years.
According to Vote.org, several states do not have early voting options: Alabama, Connecticut, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, etc. In this election cycle, which saw a larger than average turnout, before Election Day, over 20 million Americans across the Untied States already cast there ballots for early voting, according to CNN.com.
Florida does have early voting and this year, Sarasota and Manatee counties received the highest number of early votes on record. Across the state, over 3 million votes were already cast ahead of the 2018 midterms before Election Day, the Catalist data shows, surpassing what was reported at this point in 2014, according to CNN.com.
Now we want to hear from you: Should the date we vote be changed? Chime in on our Facebook page.