We’re in the home stretch of the presidential election here in the U.S. Many of us now live in states that allow early voting or mail-in absentee voting, but Tuesday, November 6th, is officially Election Day.
But why Tuesday? It doesn’t seem like the most obvious or convenient day to go to the polls; Saturday might seem like a better candidate.
In this short talk, Jacob Soboroff explains the history of why we vote on Tuesdays: in 1845, Congress passed a law setting an official voting day, and didn’t want people to have to travel on Sundays or miss Wednesday market days and so on and so forth, and eventually they settled on Tuesday as the best day to accommodate the travel times required to get places in horse-drawn buggies so people could vote with the minimum disruption to their lives.
And so we still vote on Tuesdays more than a century and a half later, even though, as Selena Simmons-Duffin of NPR pointed out in a story this morning, a lot of critics argue that it reduces voter turnout due to the difficulty of getting off of work to go vote in states that don’t allow any type of early voting.Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.