I'm proudly wearing my "I voted" sticker on my shirt, even though no one will see it tonight except my family. It's a day I treasure, despite the long, long, L O N G campaign. Today, The People will speak -- not the talking heads, not the ad-makers, not the poll-takers, but The People. We'll sit before the TV and watch the results roll in. For us, it's an American holiday... The Once-Every-Four-Years Election Super Bowl.
I did a little research today on Election Day and how it came about. From what I gathered, the date (the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November) was decided upon back when America was a mostly agrarian country. November was chosen because the fall work was done, crops were gathered in, and the roads were generally passable. But why Tuesday? It was chosen because Sunday was a Sabbath day and Monday would be a day for travel. Many people had a day's journey to get to their county seat on horseback or by wagon. Tuesday would be voting day and then Wednesday was, in some places, market day. Thus, the day stands.
"Woman Suffrage in Wyoming Territory. Scene at the Polls in Cheyenne"
- Nov. 24, 1888
I found some other very interesting historical tidbits here where Kate Kelly is promoting her book, Election Day, An American Holiday an American History. If you explore the links there, you will find bits like this....
In a hotly contested election to decide the location of the Essex (New Jersey) county seat, people cast as many votes as they could, traveling by horse and carriage from polling place to polling place. At the time, women had the right to vote in New Jersey, and young men dressed as women to vote. The largest number of votes ever cast before in the county had been 4500; for this election, nearly 14,000 votes were counted. The township of Acquacknonk, where 350 voters lived, polled nearly 1900 votes. Because of the very obvious abuse of the voting process, the results of the election were declared void. In 1807 New Jersey reverted to limiting the franchise to free white male citizens.
Grover Cleveland, elected in 1884, was accused by Republicans of having an illegitimate child. It was a charge he never denied. When his advisors asked what to do about newspaper reporters who were on to the story, Cleveland replied: “Above all, tell the truth.” The Republican cry that followed him on campaign stops was, “Ma Ma, where’s my Pa?”Cheating and scandal is nothing new to politics.
I hope you voted today!