Politics and Work Week: Why Do We Vote on Tuesday?

by Matthew Stollak on Monday, November 5, 2012

With the U.S. national election tomorrow, its going to be politics week on the blog.

Today - Why do we vote on Tuesday?

According to whytuesday.org:

In 1845, before Florida, California, and Texas were states or slavery had been abolished, Congress needed to pick a time for Americans to vote. We were an agrarian society. We traveled by horse and buggy. Farmers needed a day to get to the county seat, a day to vote, and a day to get back, without interfering with the three days of worship. So that left Tuesday and Wednesday, but Wednesday was market day. So, Tuesday it was. In 1875 Congress extended the Tuesday date for national House elections and in 1914 for federal Senate elections.
Check out this infographic:


However, this is not 1914...we have the opportunity to change when and where we vote.  Millions have already taken advantage of early or absentee voting.  But, in 15 states, Tuesday is the ONLY day that voting will be allowed.

This means, for many of us, voting may interfere with time spent at work.  One must arrive at the polls and brave long lines in the hopes of getting our vote cast without missing our morning check-in at work.  Or, we hope to get out early enough from work to make it to the polls before they close.

So, what is your workplace doing to ensure people vote?  Are you giving time off to employees to let them make their political choice?  Would you support making Election Day a national holiday?

5 comments

I work for an HR Tech company and we have unlimited vacation days which is really nice because we don't have to worry about being penalized for voting tomorrow.

However, a lot of my friends and family don't get that luxury and I found a website where you can locate your State's "voter leave laws" which are State enforced laws that allow employees to leave in order to vote. See it here: http://hr.blr.com/state-comparison-charts/Does-My-State-have-Voting-Laws-Map/

Also, if anyone's interested, my company, Hireology, did some research into HR issues during election season including Voter Leave Laws. You can view it here: http://hireology.sites.hubspot.com/hrs-guide-to-the-election-season

by Erin Borgerson on November 5, 2012 at 11:07 AM. #

Making Election Day a national holiday would likely only make it easier for those in corporate jobs, yeah?

I love the infographic, thanks for sharing, yo! Who knew?

by Lizzie on November 5, 2012 at 11:27 AM. #

@erin - Thanks for the info

@lizzie - Am I going to have to call you Cynical Girl, Jr?

by Matthew Stollak on November 5, 2012 at 12:39 PM. #

The history & graphic are interesting. I never thought about it before!

I actually prefer weekday voting - making it a holiday would probably result in more votes, so I'd be in favor of that change. If you're giving someone the day off to do something, many people are going to feel that they must do that thing. Not a bad idea. Too many people travel on weekends (me included), so I don't know weekends are the answer either.

The polls in most places open early and close late. 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Wisconsin, right? I think not being able to get time off is just an easy excuse for many people - especially considering the many states that have time off to vote laws. You make time for what's important.

by Jennifer Griffith on November 6, 2012 at 4:09 PM. #

You can know the reason we vote and the vote

by Team building events on November 26, 2012 at 6:54 AM. #

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