By federal law since 1792, the U.S. Congress permitted the states to conduct their presidential elections (or otherwise to choose their electors) any time in a 34-day period before the first Wednesday of December, which was the day set for the meeting of the electors of the U.S. president and vice-president (the Electoral College), in their respective states. An election date in November was seen as useful because the harvest would have been completed (important in an agrarian society) and the winter-like storms would not yet have begun in earnest (a plus in the days before paved roads and snowplows).
National elections take place every even-numbered year. Every four years the president, vice president, one third of the Senate, and the entire House are up for election (on-year elections). On even-numbered years when there isn’t a presidential election, one third of the Senate and the whole House are included in the election (off-year elections).
Here are some interesting facts:
Why Election Day is the Day It Is:
- November was selected because the harvest work was done.
- Tuesday was selected because many people had to travel the day before to reach the polling place. Since most people did not travel on Sunday for religious reasons, they did not want it to be on a Monday.
- They did not want Election Day to fall on November 1st because it is All Saints Day.
- They did not want Election Day to fall on the first of the month because many shop keepers did their books for the preceding month on the first.
- Election Day is the Tuesday on or after November 2nd.
United States President Election Year: Election for the office of United States President is held every four years.
- The Presidential Election Day in 2012 is on Tuesday, November 6
- The Presidential Election Day in 2016 is on Tuesday, November 8
- The Presidential Election Day in 2020 is on Tuesday, November 3
- The Presidential Election Day in 2024 is on Tuesday, November 5
How To Register to Vote
Information about where and how to register to vote is available. Voter Registration Information