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Why Do We Vote on Tuesday?

Posted at: 10/30/2012 4:41 PM
Updated at: 10/30/2012 4:42 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 News) -- We've heard a lot of questions and answers during this year's political campaign. But there's probably one question you haven't heard answered: why do we vote on Tuesday?

Today, an answer.

"There's religious, economic and political reasons we vote on Tuesday,” said Mower county auditor/treasurer Doug Groh. “It all stems from 1845."

It was the year James Polk became our 11th president and Texas became our 28th state.

"Horse and buggy days, and the county seat was the polling place," Groh told us.

“A lot of people might have to travel and stay overnight to vote," added Austin city clerk Lucy Johnson. And since Sunday was a day of rest:

"They allowed Monday to travel to the county seat to vote, so then they voted on Tuesday," Groh explained.

But not if Tuesday was the first of the month.

"A lot of people businesses in particular, did their books on the first of the month. Congress actually did not want to have the vote influenced by good or particularly bad economic times," Groh told us.

November was chosen because the economy was driven by farmers

“November was their first slow month,” said Johnson.

And there was a safe political reason for Keeping the vote in November.

"It's far enough from April 15th when you last paid taxes you kind of forgot, and you haven't started to think about paying taxes again on April 15th to influence your vote," Johnson explained.

And that’s why Americans vote on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

“After working elections for years, most of us didn't have any idea why," Johnson admitted.