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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Why Vote on a Tuesday?

Why Vote on a Tuesday?

Several years ago, the editors of the Farmers’ Almanacâ„¢ actually made a suggestion to change Election Day from Tuesday to Sunday, to promote greater participation. Since Sunday is not a working day for a majority of the population, it might encourage more people to find the time to go to the polls and cast their votes. Many of our readers agreed, but Election Day is still held on Tuesdays.

A look back at history tells us that Election Day has been held on this day of the week ever since 1845. Back then, most Americans were farmers, and many lived in very rural areas. Since the polling places were at county seats, most had to travel far to exercise their right to vote. This travel was slow going in buggies, on horseback or by walking. Not wanting to interfere with people’s religious beliefs, Tuesday was chosen so that voters would be able to start their journeys on Monday.

The time of year that Election Day is held (fall) was also chosen due to the agricultural population. By November, most of the farmers had harvested all of their crops and were a lot less busy with their farming responsibilities. The first Tuesday after the first Monday was chosen as Election Day due to two reasons.

First, November 1st is All Saints’ Day, a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics. The second reason was that most merchants tried to settle their books for the proceeding month on the first of the month. With this in mind, it seems that Congress was worried about the financial impact of tallying sales and how that might affect the voting of those business people.

So even though our country has changed drastically since 1845, and farming responsibilities and travel are not the big issues they used to be, we still hold Election Day on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November.

Get out and vote.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.