I have been a registered voter for a number of years now, and have been active in doing my part by voting in two of the three states I have lived in. I will admit that there was a period of time when I wasn’t as interested in the events around me, or the people in authority over what directly affects myself and my family. Shame on me! Once I decided to take a more active role I have tried to educate my adult children as to the importance of voting in order to help shape our future. I have done some research, and would like to share with you about Election Day.
History and background
Election Day is the day that general elections are held. It is a public holiday, and not a Federal holiday, however schools and many businesses are closed. Polling places are open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On this day you have the opportunity to vote for public officials on a national, state, and local level. If an individual is unable or unwilling to go to a polling place, they do have an option to vote via an absentee ballot. This process enables more people to vote, thus helping overall voter turnout.
Initially states could conduct presidential elections at any time 34 days before the meetings of the Electoral Colleges, which was the first Wednesday in December. This became a problem due to the fact that election results announced early in that timeframe could influence the outcomes held later in the permitted time.
Why do we vote on a Tuesday in November?
Congress passed a federal law in 1845 designating the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November as Election Day in order to streamline the voting process. Generally it will fall on or between November 2nd and November 8th. Did you know that America’s 19th-century farmers had an impact on why November and Tuesday were chosen? Historically, people often traveled at least a day to vote. Weekends were an impractical choice because of church, and Wednesdays were market day for farmers. Election Day falls in November because Spring and early Summer elections would interfere with the planting season, and late Summer and early Fall overlapped with harvest. November worked because harvest was complete, but the harsh winter hadn’t set in yet. It was a great solution!
Steps I take to prepare
My normal preparation and day of routine is as follows:
- Print off a sample ballot for my location
- Study up on the candidates and any state questions on the ballot. This not only helps me make an educated decision, but also helps eliminate extra time in the voting booth the day of.
- Arrive at my polling location between 7:00 and 7:30 AM in order to vote before heading into work.
- Must show photo ID and claim party affiliation
- Receive my ballot. I always carry a little “cheat sheet” with me. It is allowed as long as I don’t share or talk about what is on it with others.
- Insert my ballot into the machine.
- Make mental note of what voter number I am.
- Receive my “I Voted” sticker. I wear it proudly all day, and place it inside a cabinet door at home, along with my husband’s. It’s a tradition for us.
- Wait for the results to be posted later in the evening.
No one can force you to vote. Voting is your voice, so how can people hear you if you don’t use it? By voting you are making your needs and values known to the leaders of your city, state, and country. It is your right to be able to choose, even if it goes against the mainstream or what seems to be popular. Voting is a formal expression for or against an issue or candidate. There have been times my husband and I have voted differently on an issue, basically cancelling out the other. But, we still stated our opinion. So, if you have not taken time to register you need to research how to do that based on your state guidelines. Every vote counts!
As a Web Merchandiser for Mardel, I write on Gifts, Jewelry, and Apparel for our web site. I write from the heart of being a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and Women’s Ministry Coordinator at my church. More than anything else, I love the Lord.