I was at my allergist’s office last month for my every-28-day injection, and she asked if I wanted a reminder card. “Nah, just tell me the date.” “November 5.” “Oh, that’s Election Day, easy to remember.”
This led me to mention that Election Day is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, so it will fall on November 2 through 8, but NOT on the 1st. When asked WHY, I admitted that I didn’t know, but that it was probably tied to the fact that it was All Saints Day, and/or it’s easy to forget that a new month has started.
So what IS the real story why Congress (in 1845) select the first Tuesday in November as Election Day?
From Information Please:
“. . . For much of our history, America was a predominantly agrarian society. Law makers therefore took into account that November was perhaps the most convenient month for farmers and rural workers to be able to travel to the polls. The fall harvest was over… but in the majority of the nation the weather was still mild enough to permit travel over unimproved roads.
“Why Tuesday? Since most residents of rural America had to travel a significant distance to the county seat in order to vote, Monday was not considered reasonable since many people would need to begin travel on Sunday. This would, of course, have conflicted with Church services and Sunday worship.
“Why the first Tuesday after the first Monday?… First, November 1st is All Saints Day, a Holy Day of Obligation for Roman Catholics. Second, most merchants were in the habit of doing their books from the preceding month on the 1st. Apparently, Congress was worried that the economic success or failure of the previous month might prove an undue influence on the vote!”
From the Wikipedia:
“The actual reasons, as shown in records of Congressional debate on the bill in December 1844, were fairly prosaic. The bill initially set the day for choosing presidential electors on “the first Tuesday in November,” in years divisible by four (1848, 1852, etc.). But it was pointed out that in some years the period between the first Tuesday in November and the first Wednesday in December (when the electors are required to meet in their state capitals to vote) would be more than 34 days, in violation of the existing Electoral College law. So, the bill was reworded to move the date for choosing presidential electors to the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, a date scheme already used in New York.”
As I’ve noted, I ALWAYS vote. ALWAYS. Tomorrow, Albany will almost certainly elect its first woman mayor in its long history. I must say that I didn’t vote for Kathy Sheehan in the primary, and that one of her campaign workers inadvertently talked me into that position. I said to the volunteer that I was voting for this guy Darius Shahinfar for city treasurer in the primary, and he told me something I already knew, which was that Kathy, the current treasurer, was aligned politically with Darius, so they’d sure to get along. But given the long-time shenanigans of the Albany Democratic machine, maybe having someone NOT aligned would be better.
I was reminded that when I was growing up, in New York State, there was often a Republican governor and a Democratic comptroller, or vice versa. Since there IS no functional Republican party in the city of Albany, the primary IS the race. I voted for Corey Ellis for mayor in the primary. But Sheehan (and Shahinfar) won the primary, as expected. And the city has a bunch of economic woes, caused in no small part by 20 years of one mayor, and not long before that, 41 years of another mayor.