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Election Day

Election Day is a very important occasion for Americans. Naturally there are a variety of election days in municipalities all over the nation, but this article focuses on the federal election day when the entire country has the opportunity to select the next group of elected federal officials.

Election Day can and does include the race for the Presidency and Vice Presidency, but it does not always include this type of voting as we’ll explore below. 2021 Election Day will be on Tuesday, November 2.

Election Day Basics Federal elections are held every two years on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November (more on that below), and voters generally have the option to vote in person or by absentee ballot or mail-in ballot. You can register to vote absentee at an official site for the U.S. Vote Foundation which is linked to Every four years, election day includes the race for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency. Election Day is overseen at the federal level by multiple agencies. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) administers federal campaign finance laws, but as the official site reminds us, the agency “has no jurisdiction over the laws relating to voting, voter fraud and intimidation, ballot access or election results.”

That work is done by The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), a federal government agency established by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. The EAC official site describes the agency as an independent, bipartisan commission, “charged with developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration.”

EAC responsibilities also include work with the national mail voter registration form created to satisfy the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. When Is Election Day?

By law, federal election day is set for “the Tuesday after the first Monday in the month of November” which is equivalent to “the first Tuesday after November 1. Election day can be held as early as November 2, and as late as November 8. reports that this time frame was selected as a consideration for what was then one of the largest and most important American industries–farming. According to Britanica, “For farmers, who made up a majority of the labor force, much of the year was taken up by the planting, tending, and harvesting of crops. Early November was a good time to vote because the harvest was over but the weather was still relatively mild.”

Voting On Election Day In the United States, voting online is not possible. As mentioned above you may vote absentee and a great many people (especially military members stationed overseas) do so.

Do not listen to election-year propaganda claiming that mail-in voting is untrustworthy and should not be done or should be avoided–the entire United States military population stationed overseas has no choice but to vote by mail and has done so for decades.

Even the author of this article has voted by mail as a uniformed service member stationed overseas, and with no problems whatsoever.

Voting in person on election day requires you to be registered in your location to vote in your nearest polling place. You will need to check with your local election officials to learn where designated polling places are–in the past schools, churches, community centers, even park district offices have all served as places to cast your ballot for the candidate of your choice.

Be advised that state laws will dictate procedures at polling locations–you may be required to provide certain forms of ID, register in proscribed ways, and the method by which you cast your vote may also vary depending on the state and polling location. In general there are rules which must be followed at the polling place including how far away campaigning may take place, accessibility procedures for voters with disabilities, etc.

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