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Deciding on a Date for the General Election

According to the U.S. Department of State:

General elections "are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. The 2008 general election was be held on Tuesday, November 4.

"Why are general elections held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November?

For much of U.S. history, America was a predominantly agrarian society. Lawmakers considered their convenience when choosing a November date for elections – after harvest time but before winter weather made travel difficult – as the easiest month for farmers and rural workers to go to the polls.

Because many rural residents lived a significant distance from the polls, Tuesday, rather than Monday, was selected to allow those who attended Sunday church services to begin travel after worship and still reach their destinations in time to cast their votes.

Lawmakers wanted to prevent Election Day from falling on the first of November for two reasons. First, November 1 is All Saints Day, a day on which Roman Catholics are obligated to attend Mass. Also, merchants typically balanced the accounts from the preceding month on the first of each month."

Good government requires that citizens vote. Sometimes there are impediments to voting.
Some people argue that the election day itself is a roadblock to some voters.

Listen to Rethinking the Tuesday vote. on NPR.

red checkmarkExamine the issues.

What role should business interests play in the selection of a date for the election? With the goal of maximizing citizen voter participation, what changes should be made to the federal electoral process?
red checkmark Extend your thinking by examining the primary elections. Should they be modified?
What do you recommend?

"The highest measure of democracy is neither the 'extent of freedom' nor the 'extent of equality',
but rather the highest measure of participation." Alain de Benoist

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developed by Cynthia J. O'Hora Released to public domain and Posted 11/2008

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