Election Day in the United States of America is the Tuesday following the first Monday in November. It can fall on or between November 2 and November 8. It is the day when popular ballots are held to select public officials. These include national, state, and local government representatives at all levels up to the president.
Is Election Day a Public Holiday?
Election Day 2023 is a state holiday in New Jersey and Virginia and an observance in 49 states.
What Do People Do?
On Election Day, citizens of the United States of America can vote by popular ballot for candidates for public offices at local, state, and national levels. In even-numbered years, federal elections are held, while in years divisible by four, presidential elections are held. Elections for local and state officials may be held in odd- or even-numbered years, depending on local and state laws.
The way in which people vote depends on the state in which they live. In Oregon, all votes are cast by post, and all votes have to be received at a given time on Election Day. In the state of Washington, nearly all people vote by post, and the envelopes containing the voting papers have to be postmarked with the date of Election Day. In other states, people vote at voting stations, where long queues can form.
Election Day is not a federal holiday, but it is a yearly or biennial holiday in some states (see table below article), including:
Employees in some states have the legal right to have time off work to vote, and in some cases, without losing any pay.
In 1792, a law was passed allowing each of the states to conduct presidential elections at any point in the 34 days before the first Wednesday in December. This was the date when the meetings of the Electors of the U.S. president and vice president, known as the Electoral Colleges, were held in each state. A date in November or early December was preferable because the harvest would have been finished, but the most severe winter storms would not have begun. |
As long-distance communication improved and became quicker with the advent of trains and telegraphs, allowing each state to conduct its elections at any point in a period of more than a month became outdated. The results of the elections that were announced earliest could influence the outcomes of elections held later in the permitted period.
In 1845, the United States Congress chose a single date for all national elections in all states. The first Tuesday after the first Monday in November was chosen so that there would never be more than 34 days between Election Day and the first Wednesday in December. Election Day is held on a Tuesday so that voters will not have to vote or travel on Sunday. This was an important consideration at the time when the laws were written and is still so in some Christian communities in the United States.
On Inauguration Day, which is on January 20, every four years, the president and vice-president of the United States of America are sworn in and take office.
In 2008, Barack Obama became the first African-American to be elected as president of the United States, 45 years after Martin Luther King Jr’s speech about equal opportunities. (https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/election-day)