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02 November 2010 @ 09:06 am
US Election Day  
I rarely post about non-fannish things here, but today is the first Tuesday of November, Election Day in the United States.  If you are eligible to vote, please do so.  And please pass the word -- "So have you voted yet? On your lunch break? Yeah, me too!"

(In almost all states, by the way, your employer is required by law to allow you time off work to vote if you need it, just like for jury duty, and of course many states keep the polls open well into the evening.  Check your state's Secretary of State website for details.)

FK Trivia: Which two episodes feature elections? Answer: "Spin Doctor" and "Beyond the Law."

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PJ1228: The_Border_1pj1228 on November 2nd, 2010 09:27 pm (UTC)
Just curious: Is there a reason why elections in your country take place in the middle of the week instead of a Sunday when most people do not have to go to work?
Amy R.: Sunbrightknightie on November 3rd, 2010 12:28 am (UTC)
Yes, of course there are reasons that the US holds elections on Tuesdays and Canada holds them on Mondays! :-)

As you know, the United States of America has operated under the same system of government for over two centuries, and Canada, while it has had more changes more recently in its history, has a similarly long electoral tradition.  Thus, many of our customs date back to the kind of lives our agrarian ancestors lived before the Industrial Revolution, when they were scattered widely across a broad land, dependent on horses for transportation.  One such inherited custom is the timing of Election Day.

I don't presume to speak for Canada, but here is what is generally believed about the origin of the US tradition of Tuesday elections, which was already common before it was enshrined in federal law in 1845:
  • Sunday, of course, is the Christian Sabbath, as Saturday is the Jewish one, so those days were not considered available for elections.
  • In those days, farmers would often need a full day to travel into town to vote, and as people wouldn't travel on their Sabbath, that meant Monday was not available to be Election Day, either.
  • In those days, Wednesday was traditionally market day, so it would upset everyone's routine greatly for that to be Election Day.
  • Thus, Tuesday was chosen, and so it has been ever since.


Of course circumstances in the present are different.  Sometimes people propose moving Election Day to the weekend -- that is, making both Saturday and Sunday election days, so that religiously observant people are not disenfranchised -- or making the day a federal holiday.  Those proposals have never gone anywhere on the national level.  (Some states already make Election Day a state holiday.  Almost all the states require employers to allow unpaid time off to vote, and some states require paid time off to vote.  All states allow absentee -- that is, mail-in -- voting, and one state -- Oregon -- now conducts its elections entirely by mail, with Election Day just the deadline for them, rather than the big event.)

I see that Wikipedia has a list of which countries hold elections on which days.  It appears that most English-speaking nations vote on weekdays, while most of continental Europe votes on Sundays.  So why does Germany hold elections on Sundays now, and what did it do historically? :-)
greerwatsongreerwatson on November 3rd, 2010 10:46 am (UTC)
Avoiding the Sabbath used to be taken further. This year, Halloween fell on Sunday; and it reminded me that, only a few years ago, when that happened they would hold it on October 30th so that one didn't do the ghoulie-and-ghostie thing on the Sabbath.
PJ1228pj1228 on November 5th, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC)
That's an interesting background. I hadn't thought of that.

>So why does Germany hold elections on Sundays now, and what did it do historically?<

I tried to find an answer to that, but I came up blank. I guess I'll just have to postpone my reply until I meet someone who knows the answer. The internet wasn't any help.
One Whose Honesty is Stronger Than Her Fear: first coupleamilyn on November 3rd, 2010 02:11 am (UTC)
I voted!

I hope for a governor for my state who a) believes women are people and believes in health care for women and people, and b) doesn't end up in federal prison.

Or just a).
Amy R.: Nickbrightknightie on November 4th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
I see from the news that votes are still being counted for your next governor, but that you and your fellow citizens by a wide margin voted in an ability to recall future governors. Have fun with that. ;-)
One Whose Honesty is Stronger Than Her Fear: first coupleamilyn on November 4th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
Yeah...Since I know what has happened with recalls in CA...I voted against that one.

I understand the need to be able to oust someone as wacky as Blago...but I don't think that our recall law was worded as anything other than a no-confidence thing like yours. Ugh.