The Constitution of the United States provides that the presidential elections be held every four years. The year of the presidential election should be divisible by four as per the statutory requirement. Furthermore, the Election Day ought to be on the first Tuesday after November 1st. Consequently, the earliest date for elections may be November 2nd while the latest date would be November 8th. The US Congress settled on this uniform date in 1845.
Reason For Choosing A Tuesday
It is not clear as to why the date of elections was set on a Tuesday. However, there are beliefs that the day was chosen because it met the Electoral College law on the period after which the electors would meet to vote in their states which was 29 days. Besides, the day did not interfere with the Market Day (which was usually on Wednesdays) and the Biblical Sabbath. Being an agrarian society at the time, the people valued the Market Day. They took their goods to the market for sale and in turn purchased what they needed to for their households.
The first criticism surrounding the Election Day being a Tuesday is that most people are at work all day long. Hence, it often results in low voter turnout. People prioritize work over their duty to vote. Consequently, activists have been advocating for the Election Tuesday to be declared a federal holiday. Alternatively, voting can be spread out so that it occurs within two to three days so that everyone gets an opportunity to exercise their voting rights.
Secondly, it appears ironical to many people that the Veterans Day be a federal holiday when Election Day is not a public holiday. The Veterans Day comes on November 11. There are suggestions that the Election Day and the Veterans Day should be merged and made a federal holiday. Such a scenario would allow citizens of the US ample time to vote.
A Holiday In Some US States
In spite of there being no holiday on the Election Day, some states have declared it a civic holiday. Such states include Ohio, New York, Hawaii, Montana, Delaware, New Jersey, and Kentucky. Other states require that employers allow workers to take time off to vote on Election Day. Such time off should be paid. As states try to make voting on Election Day possible, some employers also try to support their workers. They allow them to come in slightly late or leave earlier on the Election Day so that they may have time to vote. Besides, there is also another option used by some states whereby the voters are allowed to vote earlier than the actual Election Day. Voters are allowed to vote 4-50 before the Election Day. Some states such as Oregon, Colorado, and Washington State exercise their presidential election right through postal voting. The voters receive ballot papers some weeks before the Election Day and must all be received on the Election Day by a specified time.
Hence, the Tuesday after November 1st and not later than November 8th is the presidential Election Day in the US.