15 Fun Facts About Election Day to Keep You from Freaking Out

The day is finally here. November 3rd, 2020- the day (or likely week) where Americans will hold their breath as votes are counted and the next President of the United States is chosen. Regardless of political preference or involvement, election day can be a stressful one, as polarizing views and fury of news take hold of your time and energy. In an attempt to distract you (but mostly myself) from the likely chaos that is about to ensue, read on for 15 facts about election day.

15+Fun+Facts+About+Election+Day+to+Keep+You+from+Freaking+Out

White House Wikimedia Commons

Nick Sanchez-Zarkos, Writer

15 Facts about Election day to keep you from freaking out

  1. Election Day always falls on a Tuesday. The reason? It all boils down to farmers. In 1845, when the day was decided, it was agreed upon that agrarian workers needed a day between Sunday and the day they voted for travel. While election day has remained on a Tuesday for over 150 years, there are some initiatives trying to move it to a weekend day,
  2. Until 1811, one of the most influential items used on voters was alcohol. Until the passing of Maryland’s campaign financing reform law, political parties often simply supplied beverages for voters in an attempt to sway the vote.
  3. Election Day is not a national holiday. Unlike most countries with fair elections, the United States has never declared November 3rd a national holiday.
  4. You can vote from space! In 1997, a law was passed in the state of Texas that allowed votes to be cast electronically from space. In this election, up to four astronauts on the ISS can vote electronically. 
  5. The United States has one of the lowest turnout rates in the world. Many countries, such as Ecuador and Australia, require all citizens to vote. Other countries even have penalties in place if you don’t vote for multiple years. In Belgium, not voting for four years ensures you lose your ability to vote.
  6. In 1876, the final results of the election were not released until two days before the inauguration day. At least this year we will have a relatively clear winner within days.
  7. Two U.S. presidents have been elected (almost) unanimously. George Washington, the country’s first president, and James Monroe, who received all but one vote.
  8. Kamala Harris is actually the third woman to make it onto the vice presidential ticket. The first was Geraldine Ferarro back in 1984. 
  9. Maine and Vermont are the only two U.S. states that do not forbid felons from voting in an election. In fact, they have been able to since their state foundings in the late 1800s.
  10.  The winner of this election will be the oldest to ever be elected. Trump currently holds the record in 2016, being 70 years old when elected. The youngest president to be elected was Theodore Roosevelt at 42 years old.
  11. Ballots were not considered private or “secret” until 1888. In the earliest elections, votes were even counted by the raising of hands or through voice.
  12. The original voting age was 21 years old. Georgia was the first state to change the requirement to 18, and the rest of the country followed suit in 1971 when the 26th Amendment was ratified.
  13.  Only 13 states allow voter registration on the day of the election. 
  14.  Voter turnout in America is only 60% for presidential elections and a measly 40% for midterm elections.
  15. You are actually more likely to die by lightning strike, flesh-eating bacteria, or a shark attack than being a victim or perpetrator in voter fraud.

 

16. While I promised only 15 facts about Election Day, this final one is the most important of all. Every vote matters. While 40% of the U.S. population does not bother to vote during a presidential election, the belief that one single vote has no importance is utterly false. Voting is a critical part of your identity as an American citizen and gives you the ability to push for change through elected officials for your country, state, and community.