Former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner appeared in a video for the Sanders Institute Monday explaining the history of why elections for public office across America are held only on Tuesdays.
In a blog post on the progressive coalition’s website, Ms. Turner quotes from voting reform group Why Tuesday? to help give the answer:
“In 1845, before Florida, California, and Texas were states or slavery had been abolished, Congress needed to pick a time for Americans to vote. We were an agrarian society. We traveled by horse and buggy. Farmers needed a day to get to the county seat, a day to vote, and a day to get back, without interfering with the three days of worship [Friday, Saturday and Sunday]. So that left Tuesday and Wednesday, but Wednesday was market day. So, Tuesday it was.”
Prior to enactment of the law, states were allowed to hold elections on the date of their choice 34 days prior to the first Wednesday in December.
According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data, over 7.7 million U.S. citizens hold multiple jobs, down from more than 8 million in March 2017.
Given America’s trend toward secular urbanization, voting rights advocates are urging lawmakers to reform the more than a century-and-a-half-old law and create a national holiday or allow weekend voting.
Short of an act of Congress, voter-friendly changes to state laws are also encouraged by rights groups, as 13 states in which 64 million people now live still do not allow any form of early voting.
Watch Nina Turner’s video below: