National Observance: Link religion and polls on Election Day

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 2: Did you know that religion influenced America’s determination of Election Day? It’s true! Americans around the country will be hitting voting booths today for the election of public officials; they’ll be voting on a Tuesday so that—back when the official day was established in 1845—travel times for voting day would not interfere with the Biblical Sabbath. (Wikipedia has details.)

U.S. residents have been voting in national elections since 1792, but between then and 1845, residents were permitted to conduct elections anytime within a 34-day period. It wasn’t until 1845 that a uniform date was chosen for Election Day, when it was decided that the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November would become the official date. Currently, Election Day is a civic holiday.

Want your voice to be heard? TODAY, columnist Dr. Wayne Baker, a researcher at the University of Michigan, is inviting readers to comment on what they see on the horizon for America. So, please, VOTE today—and add a comment at


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