Why Is The Presidential Election Always In November? You Can Thank Nineteenth Century Farmers
For some, November is merely code word for Movember. For others, it is 30 days of autumnal bliss (cozy knits and apple picking necessary). However, for America, November is also the month of the presidential election — on the first Tuesday following the first Monday, to be exact. 'Tis the season of pumpkin pies, politics, and above all, Election Day. But before you cast those ballots, do you know why the election is always in November? Cue the flashbacks to high school history class.
According to Why Tuesday, a non-partisan organization that focuses on American voting rights, the reason why Election Day is always in November has to do with farmers and farming schedules. In the 1800s, America was primarily composed of the agricultural crowd. Most worked as farmers, and while this meant tending to crops, it also meant that a large majority lived in rural areas far from polling places, said Why Tuesday.
However, the hitch did not stop there. Not only were 19th century farmers wagon rides away from voting, but Congress had to ensure that Election Day fell at a time that did not conflict with the harvest season, notes History.com. Make the date too early and farmers would be too preoccupied with planting and reaping crops. However, History.com also points out that if the date is too late in the year, farmers would have to travel through harsh winter conditions to even get to a polling location. Would a negotiation ever be reached, all in the name of liberty, justice, and crops?
At last, a compromise came in 1845. According to Time and Date, Congress designated Election Day as the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. This was the magic time period, as early November meant that the harvest season would have finally concluded and that weather conditions would be safe enough for farmers to venture to their respective polling locations, History.com reports.
For America's agrarian denizens, a November election season was truly the best of both worlds. Cornucopia and voting would go hand-in-hand, as all citizens could now experience a slice of the American dream. Just let us be thankful that the modern Election Day does not involve horse-drawn wagons — or any wagon for the matter.