Election Day (United States)

In the United States, Election Day is the day set by law for the general elections of federal public officials. It is statutorily set as "the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November" or "the first Tuesday after November 1".[1] The earliest possible date is November 2, and the latest possible date is November 8.

For federal offices (President, Vice President, and United States Congress), Election Day occurs only in even-numbered years. Presidential elections are held every four years, in years divisible by four, in which electors for President and Vice President are chosen according to the method determined by each state. Elections to the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate are held every two years; all Representatives are elected to serve two-year terms and are up for election every two years, while Senators serve six-year terms, staggered so that one third of Senators are elected in any given general election. General elections in which presidential candidates are not on the ballot are referred to as midterm elections. Terms for those elected begin in January the following year; the President and Vice President are inaugurated ("sworn in") on Inauguration Day, which is usually on January 20.

Many state and local government offices are also elected on Election Day as a matter of convenience and cost saving, although a handful of states hold elections for state offices (such as governor) during odd-numbered "off years", or during other even-numbered "midterm years", and may hold special elections for offices that have become vacant. Congress has mandated a uniform date for presidential (3 U.S.C. § 1) and congressional (2 U.S.C. § 1 and 2 U.S.C. § 7) elections, though early voting is nonetheless authorized in many states.

Election Day is a public holiday in some states, including Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia, and the territory of Puerto Rico. Some other states require that workers be permitted to take time off with pay. California Elections Code section 14000 provides that employees otherwise unable to vote must be allowed two hours off with pay, at the beginning or end of a shift. A federal holiday, Democracy Day, to coincide with Election Day has been proposed. Other movements in the IT and automotive industries encourage employers to voluntarily give their employees paid time off on Election Day.

SF City Hall Election Day 2018
San Francisco City Hall illuminated in special red, white, and blue LED lighting at night on November 6, 2018 to commemorate Election Day all around the United States
National Election Day
TypeDay for the election of public officials in the United States
CelebrationsExercising civic duty, voting for elected officials, visiting polling precincts
DateThe Tuesday after the first Monday of November
2018 dateNovember 6 (Details)
2019 dateNovember 5 (Details)
2020 dateNovember 3 (Details)
2021 dateNovember 2 (Details)
Related toSuper Tuesday


By 1792, Federal law permitted each state to choose Presidental electors any time within a 34-day period[2] before the first Wednesday in December.[3] A November election was convenient because the harvest would have been completed but the most severe winter weather, impeding transportation, would not yet have arrived, while the new election results also would roughly conform to a new year. Originally, states varied considerably in the method of choosing electors. Gradually, states converged on selection by some form of popular vote.

Development of the Morse electric telegraph, funded by Congress in 1843 and successfully tested in 1844, was a technological change that clearly augured an imminent future of instant communication nationwide.[4] To prevent information from one state from influencing Presidential electoral outcomes in another, Congress responded in 1845 by mandating a uniform national date for choosing Presidential electors.[1] Congress chose the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November to harmonize current electoral practice with the existing 34-day window in Federal law, as the span between Election Day and the first Wednesday in December is always 29 days.[5] The effect is to constrain Election Day to the week between November 2 and November 8 inclusive. Beginning with Presidential elections, gradually all states brought nearly all elections into conformity with this date.


Most voters are no longer farmers, with jobs requiring work on Tuesdays. This has led activists to promote alternatives to improve voter turnout. Alternatives include making Election Day a Federal holiday or merging it with Veterans Day[6][7], allowing voting over multiple days, mandating paid time off to vote, encouraging voters to vote early or vote by mail, and encouraging states to promote flexible voting.

Holiday and paid leave

Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, and the territory of Puerto Rico have declared Election Day a civic holiday. Some other states require that workers be permitted to take time off from employment without loss of pay. California Elections Code Section 14000 and New York State Election Law[8] provide that employees without sufficient time to vote must be allowed two hours off with pay, at the beginning or end of a shift. Democracy Day, a planned federal holiday to coincide with Election Day, was unsuccessfully proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate in 2005. It was later reintroduced in the Senate in 2014 and has not been enacted.

Some employers allow their employees to come in late or leave early on Election Day to allow them an opportunity to get to their precinct and vote. The United Auto Workers union has negotiated making Election Day a holiday for workers of U.S. domestic auto manufacturers. In July 2016, venture capitalist Hunter Walk began encouraging tech companies to give their employees time off to vote on Election Day.[9] Walk's campaign evolved into a website, TakeOffElectionDay.com, which now highlights the 140+ tech companies (including Spotify, Wikimedia Foundation, Autodesk, and Square, Inc.)[10] that are giving their employees time to vote on Election Day.

Early and postal voting

Most states allow for early voting, allowing voters to cast ballots before the Election Day. Early voting periods vary from 4 to 50 days prior to Election Day. Unconditional early voting in person is allowed in 32 states and in D.C.[11] Also, most states have some kind of absentee ballot system. Unconditional absentee voting by mail is allowed in 27 states and D.C., and with an excuse in another 21 states.[11] Unconditional permanent absentee voting is allowed in 7 states and in D.C.[11]

In Colorado, Oregon and Washington State all major elections are by postal voting, with ballot papers sent to voters several weeks before Election Day.[12] In Colorado and Oregon, all postal votes must be received by a set time on Election Day, as is common with absentee ballots in most states (except overseas military ballots, which receive more time by federal law). Washington State requires postal votes be postmarked by Election Day. For the 2008 presidential election, 32% of votes were early votes.[13]

Local elections

Elected offices of municipalities, counties (in most states), and other local entities (such as school boards and other special-purpose districts) have their elections subject to rules of their state, and in some states, they vary according to choices of the jurisdiction in question. For instance, in Connecticut, all towns, cities, and boroughs hold elections in every odd-numbered year, but as of 2004, 16 have them on the first Monday in May, while the other 153 are on Election Day. In Massachusetts, the 50 cities are required to hold their elections on Election Day, but the 301 towns may choose any date, and most have traditionally held their elections in early spring, after the last snowfall.

  Year   Day Details Type
2000 November 7 United States elections, 2000 Presidential
2001 November 6 United States elections, 2001 Off-year
2002 November 5 United States elections, 2002 Midterm
2003 November 4 United States elections, 2003 Off-year
2004 November 2 United States elections, 2004 Presidential
2005 November 8 United States elections, 2005 Off-year
2006 November 7 United States elections, 2006 Midterm
2007 November 6 United States elections, 2007 Off-year
2008 November 4 United States elections, 2008 Presidential
2009 November 3 United States elections, 2009 Off-year
2010 November 2 United States elections, 2010 Midterm
2011 November 8 United States elections, 2011 Off-year
2012 November 6 United States elections, 2012 Presidential
2013 November 5 United States elections, 2013 Off-year
2014 November 4 United States elections, 2014 Midterm
2015 November 3 United States elections, 2015 Off-year
2016 November 8 United States elections, 2016 Presidential
2017 November 7 United States elections, 2017 Off-year
2018 November 6 United States elections, 2018 Midterm
2019 November 5 United States elections, 2019 Off-year
2020 November 3 United States elections, 2020 Presidential

See also


  1. ^ a b Statutes at Large, 28th Congress, 2nd Session, p. 721.
  2. ^ Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 2nd Congress, 1st Session, p. 278.
  3. ^ Statutes at Large, 2nd Congress, 1st Session, p. 239.
  4. ^ William C. Kimberling, The Electoral College, Federal Election Commission, 1992, pp. 6-7
  5. ^ Congressional Globe, House of Representatives, 28th Congress, 2nd Session, pp. 14-15.
  6. ^ Sutter, John D. (12 November 2012). "Election Day should be a federal holiday". CNN. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Policy Proposals". Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  8. ^ "New York State Election Law, § 3-110" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  9. ^ "Why You Should Give Your Employees Election Day Off". 2016-08-04. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  10. ^ "News and Press Releases | Square". squareup.com. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  11. ^ a b c "Absentee and Early Voting". National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
  12. ^ Absentee and Early Voting. National Conference of State Legislatures.
  13. ^ Michael McDonald (2010-05-01). "(Nearly) Final 2008 Early Voting Statistics". Department of Public and International Affairs, George Mason University. Archived from the original on 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2012-10-30.

External links

1988 United States Senate election in Florida

The 1988 United States Senate election in Florida was held on November 8, 1988. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Lawton Chiles decided to retire instead of seeking a fourth term. Republican Connie Mack III won the open seat.

2018 United States House of Representatives elections in Georgia

The 2018 United States House of Representatives elections in Georgia were held on November 6, 2018, to elect the fourteen U.S. Representatives from the state of Georgia, one from each of the state's fourteen congressional districts. The elections coincided with a gubernatorial election, as well as other elections to the House of Representatives, elections to the United States Senate and various state and local elections. The primary elections took place on May 22, 2018.The state congressional delegation changed from a 10-4 Republican majority to a 9-5 Republican majority.

2019 in the United States

Events from the year 2019 in the United States.

Election day

Election day or polling day is the day on which general elections are held. In many countries, general elections are always held on a Saturday or Sunday, to enable as many voters as possible to participate; while in other countries elections are always held on a weekday. However, some countries, or regions within a country, which hold elections on a weekday declare election day a public holiday. Countries which permit absentee ballots, early ballots or postal votes to be cast by mail before the election avoid the problem altogether by enabling voters to vote on a day that is more convenient to them.

An election day usually culminates in an election night when the results of the election are tallied and winners are announced.

Election day (disambiguation)

Election day is the day on which political elections are held.

By country:

Election Day (United Kingdom), the day on which political elections are held in the United Kingdom

Election Day (United States), the day set by law for the general elections of public officials in the United States

Historical Russian election days

Russian Election Day, 2014

Russian Election Day, 2017

Elections in the United States

Elections in the United States are held for government officials at the federal, state, and local levels. At the federal level, the nation's head of state, the President, is elected indirectly by the people of each state, through an Electoral College. Today, these electors almost always vote with the popular vote of their state. All members of the federal legislature, the Congress, are directly elected by the people of each state. There are many elected offices at state level, each state having at least an elective Governor and legislature. There are also elected offices at the local level, in counties, cities, towns, townships, boroughs, and villages; as well as for special districts and school districts which may transcend county and municipal boundaries. According to a study by political scientist Jennifer Lawless, there were 519,682 elected officials in the United States as of 2012.While the United States Constitution does set parameters for the election of federal officials, state law, not federal, regulates most aspects of elections in the U.S., including primaries, the eligibility of voters (beyond the basic constitutional definition), the running of each state's electoral college, as well as the running of state and local elections. All elections—federal, state, and local—are administered by the individual states.The restriction and extension of voting rights to different groups has been a contested process throughout United States history. The federal government has also been involved in attempts to increase voter turnout, by measures such as the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The financing of elections has also long been controversial, because private sources make up substantial amounts of campaign contributions, especially in federal elections. Voluntary public funding for candidates willing to accept spending limits was introduced in 1974 for presidential primaries and elections. The Federal Elections Commission, created in 1975 by an amendment to the Federal Election Campaign Act, has the responsibility to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law such as the limits and prohibitions on contributions, and to oversee the public funding of U.S. presidential elections.

First Tuesday

First Tuesday may refer to:

First Tuesday - a monthly NBC newsmagazine television program (1969 to 1973) first hosted by Sander Vanocur

First Tuesday (documentary strand) - a monthly British current affairs television documentary strand

First Tuesday (networking forum) - a London-based networking forum

First Tuesday Book Club - an Australian book discussion television programme


November is the eleventh and penultimate month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars, the fourth and last of four months to have a length of 30 days and the fifth and last of five months to have a length of less than 31 days. November was the ninth month of the ancient Roman calendar. November retained its name (from the Latin novem meaning "nine") when January and February were added to the Roman calendar.

November is a month of late spring in the Southern Hemisphere and late autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. Therefore, November in the Southern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent of May in the Northern Hemisphere and vice versa. In Ancient Rome, Ludi Plebeii was held from November 4–17, Epulum Jovis was held on November 13 and Brumalia celebrations began on November 24. These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

November was referred to as Blōtmōnaþ by the Anglo-Saxons. Brumaire and Frimaire were the months on which November fell in the French Republican Calendar.

United States Holidays, observances, and celebrations in the United States
American Heart Month
Black History Month
Irish-American Heritage Month
National Colon Cancer Awareness Month
Women's History Month
Confederate History Month
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Jewish American Heritage Month
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Pride Month
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
Hispanic Heritage Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Disability Employment Awareness Month
Filipino American History Month
LGBT History Month
Native American Indian Heritage Month
Varies (year round)

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