Welcome to election day, 2020. Between expanded mail-in voting and Covid-19 concerns, the election has been underway for weeks, but the traditional election day is the day when voting ends and counting begins.
By statute, since 1845, elections for federal offices have been held on the first Tuesday after the first Sunday of even-numbered years. There are Congressional and Senatorial elections, then, on every even numbered year, but a Presidential election is added to the mix only in every other instances of those. So we have again arrived at a quadrennial Event.
The focus on Tuesday is a tradition unique to the United States. The general sentiment in the early Republic seems to have favored Monday, with the idea that doing one’s civic duty was a good way to start the work week. But rural, and religious, voters who would have to come into town to vote didn’t want to have to do so on a Sunday, their God-ordained day of rest. Thus: Tuesday it is.
The Thing to Know:
If all goes well, tomorrow’s post will discuss the some of the legal jousting that preceded election day, dealing with how votes are to be cast in the peculiar circumstance of the Covid-19 pandemic. Thursday’s post will turn to Senatorial races, and what we know about which party will control the US Senate over the next two years. Next week: Tuesday, November 10, we will devote to the outcome and aftermath of the Presidential campaign — a week’s perspective may prove very helpful. On Wednesday, November 11, we will look at some of the new arrivals into the House of Representatives; Thursday, November 12, we will give over to state-level decisions, who is to be Governor where, and what important referenda have passed.