Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Monday, November 5, 2012

Voting Traditions

I've often thought it odd that we vote on a Tuesday here in the US and I've wondered why.  Turns out that today this is largely because of tradition.

There was, of course, a valid reason when it was decided on in 1845.  It had to do with the fact that many voters would have to travel an entire day by horse and buggy to get to their polling place and it would take another day to get home.  The source I found mentioned that many wouldn't be able to travel on Sunday - the Christian day of rest- and Wednesday was traditionally market day and thus an important day to farmers so Tuesday would be election day.  (Travel Monday, stay overnight, vote early Tuesday, then travel home that same day)

Of course, as I stated, there is no real reason to continue to hold elections on Tuesday these days.  The vast majority of people work Monday through Friday so Saturday or Sunday would work better for most. Bills to change Election Day to a weekend day keep dying in committee in Congress, so I guess we may not see this change any time soon.

Even better, in my opinion, would be to allow early voting in all states for the two weeks prior to Election Day so as to make it easier for everyone to make it to the polls. I'm honestly not sure why some states don't have early voting in place.  My state, Pennsylvania, does not have any sort of early voting and some years there is quite a line to get in to vote on Election Day!  I haven't been able to find an online source to explain why my state will not allow early voting but I imagine the answer will be the same as why we vote on Tuesdays:  Tradition.

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