November 5, 2018
Election Day In America
Election Day is when Americans are asked to select their government officials. It's also an opportunity to appreciate our democratic heritage. The right to vote is one of our country's most cherished and important freedoms. The Declaration of Independence proclaimed that "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed" and condemned the monarchy for denying the rights of representation. The U.S. Constitution also includes four amendments (15th, 19th, 24th and 26th) ensuring the right to vote. The struggle for all Americans to have this right lasted many years, but responsibility can be fulfilled on one day. As Thomas Jefferson said, "We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate." The importance of the right to vote is reflected in the recent establishment of National American History and Founders Month.
So this Election Day 2018 let's all do our civic duty and honor our country's democratic history.
Did You Know …
The first American presidential election was held from Monday, December 15, 1788, to Saturday, January 10, 1789. Voter turnout was particularly low in the first election with only 43,782 votes. There were no popular votes in Connecticut, Georgia, New Jersey, and South Carolina. New York's legislature was deadlocked, while neither North Carolina nor Rhode Island had ratified the Constitution yet.
Election Day, as we know it, was enacted by Congress in 1845. Before that states could hold elections whenever they wanted within a 34-day period before the first Wednesday in December. Congress wanted to prevent early voting results or last-minute voters from influencing election outcomes. The first Tuesday after the first Monday of November was selected because most Americans were farmers at the time. November was chosen because both spring planting and fall harvesting would be complete, and it would be before winter set in. Tuesday was selected because many people traveled up to vote and allowed for a two-day travel window. Sundays were spent in church and Wednesdays were market days.