Election Day 2015: What You Need to Know

Filed in American Culture by on November 3, 2015 0 Comments

Photo by Stephen Velasco.

Election Day 2015 is here! While the United States presidential election isn’t until next year, today’s elections for state and local governments are just as important.

States are granted authority to create and enforce laws under the 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. These laws can include key issues, ranging from education, conservation, and immigration. This unique state governance model is part of what makes the U.S. such a diverse country, ripe with differences in opinion and practice.

Here are three things to know about Election Day in the U.S.:

1. Why is Election Day held on a Tuesday?

Before 1845, each state could determine which date elections were held as long as it was 34 days before the first Wednesday in November. Because many voters at the time were in the agricultural industry, this was an opportune time because crops would have already been harvested.

As long-distance communication improved, states that held elections earlier were influenced the outcomes of elections held later. Because of this, the U.S. Congress passed a law mandating the first Tuesday after the first Monday of every November as Election Day. Tuesday was chosen at the time so that religious communities would not have to travel to vote on Sunday

You can learn more from Time and Date about the historical background of Election Day in the U.S.

2. Where are the elections being held in U.S.?

According to the National Conference of State Legislators, gubernatorial races are being held in Kentucky and Mississippi. State legislator races will be held in Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia. Additionally, voters will also either approve or strike down ballot measures in Colorado, Maine, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas and Washington.

3. What issues are being tackled?

CNN outlines contested campaigns across the U.S., as well as the hottest issues voters will be casting their ballots on including LGBT rights, legislation to protect endangered species, and gun control measures.

Although voting is a right reserved only for U.S. citizens, the Exchange Team at the American Immigration Council encourages you to observe this key facet of U.S. democratic life by tuning in to news coverage of the election in your region and then share your reflections on the day!