WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — If you’re wondering why Americans vote on a typical work day instead of a weekend, you can look to America’s 19th century lawmakers.
The United States has held its federal elections on the first Tuesday following the first Monday of November since 1845.
Because the process dates back to the 1840s, the reason we vote when we do is pretty “old school.”
Since America was largely an agriculture nation, the process was put in place to make it as easy as possible for working farmers. In some cases, it took a day to travel to a polling place via horse and buggy. Tuesday was picked to try to avoid interfering with Wednesday’s “market day” or church on Sunday.
Lawmakers selected November so people could vote after the fall harvest without facing the threat of wintry weather.
There have been a few initiatives pushed to move elections to weekends or make it a federal holiday. Those haven’t drawn enough support over the last 180 years to make a change.