Library Blog

Decision 2020: Today Is Election Day

Voting 2020 icon

Tuesday, November 3rd is Election Day.

An election day technically occurs on the “first Tuesday after November 1st.”  And for 2020, that day is today!

The United States has an election day every November.  This year is a very important and pivotal election.  The years in which we vote for presidential candidates (every four years) feel especially exciting!  So, while we wait for the big news about the winning candidates, let’s learn a little bit about this special day in our nation:

  • Tuesday was selected as a “convenient” day to vote, back when it was established in the 19th Century.  Farmers often traveled long distances to the nearest polling place.  But they didn’t travel on Sunday, and needed to be back in time for market day on Wednesday.
  • November was considered the best time to vote since the harvest would be over at that time, but the bad winter weather would have not yet arrived.
  • However, some argue that holding elections on Tuesday is outdated.  Perhaps holding elections during a workday inhibits voter turnout.  Lots of other countries prefer to vote on Sunday.
  • Many other countries consider Election Day to be a national, civic holiday.  The United States is one of the few democracies that doesn’t, (although a few states do.)
  • Some countries make voting compulsory, which results in a nearly 100% turnout.  Australia is one example: refusing to show up on election day results in a $15 fine.  Although voting is your duty as a citizen, it is not mandatory for Americans.  Thus, the United States has notoriously low voter turnout.  Only 60% of Americans voted in the 2012 Elections.
  • The 15th Amendment was adopted in 1869, which stated that voting could not be denied to any citizen based on race or color.
  • The 19th Amendment was adopted in 1920, giving women the right to vote.  More women voters go to the polls than male voters.
  • The 26th Amendment, adopted in 1971, lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.
  • Taking a photo of your completed ballot (or a selfie with it!) is illegal in some states, (including Ohio).
  • Astronauts can vote from space.  Their ballots are virtual, and their out of state address is listed as “low-earth orbit.”
  • Some countries, and the state of Nevada, offer a “none of the above” option.
  • By election day, the 2020 American presidential race will have lasted 1,194 days.  As compared to Japan’s, which legally cannot last more than 12 days, and France which cannot last longer than two weeks.
  • Many states allow “unconditional early voting,” which allows people to vote before the actual Election Day.  Voting periods last from 4 to 50 days before the election.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic led many states to relax the requirements for both mail-in and early voting.  These steps include: allowing absentee voting, proactively sending absentee applications out to all registered voters, giving prepaid postage for absentee ballots, and providing ballot drop boxes.  According to ABC News.
  • Loosening the requirements have encouraged a record number of early votes cast: More than 29 million, as compared to only 6 million votes cast at this point during the 2016 race, according to BBC News.

Voting is both a right and a responsibility, and is one of the main ways you have a say in who represents you in government. So be an informed voter by reading up on issues and candidates, and if you haven’t voted yet, there’s still time. Exercise your voice and vote!

Check out the library’s webpage for essential voting resources:

Voting

For more amusing Election Day facts, check out these websites:

https://www.farmersalmanac.com/election-day-trivia-29094
https://www.rd.com/article/election-day-facts/
https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/87284/15-facts-about-elections-around-world