Why Tuesday? Why November? We did some research, and it turns out there IS a logical reason for this. The whole red state/blue state thing? Not so much. Read on to find out the story behind these Election Day traditions.
- Election Day is always on a Tuesday because back when voters traveled to polls by horse, Tuesday was the most logical day. People could worship on Sunday, ride to their county seat on Monday and vote on Tuesday. It was important that the election not interfere with market day, Wednesday.
- November is election month because it is between harvest time and brutal winter weather, which was particularly bad for people travelling by horse and buggy.
- The media created the idea that Democratic states are blue and Republic states are red; the colors are completely arbitrary. The color assignments have even flip-flopped over the years. For example, in 1980, states won by Republican Ronald Reagan were colored blue – Democrat Jimmy Carter’s states were colored red.
- Until 1937, presidents didn't get sworn in until March 4 because it took a long time to count and report ballots, and because of the winner's logistical issues in moving to D.C. The 20th Amendment moved presidential inaugurations to noon on January 20.
- Democrats have a donkey as their mascot because in 1828 Democrat Andrew Jackson’s critics called him a “jackass” – Jackson decided to run with it. He even used pictures of a donkey in his campaign ads. Republicans have an elephant because in 1874, cartoonist Thomas Nast used an elephant to show the Republican vote in his drawing “The Third-Term Panic.”
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