In 1845, voting on Tuesday made perfect sense. Now? Not so much.

Today is Super Tuesday. Again.

Millions of people in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio will have the opportunity today to vote in their presidential primaries. Hundreds of delegates are at stake and, after the polls close, we'll have an even clearer vision of who might be in the running to lead this country for the next four years.

As weird as this particular election season has been, there's one question about our democratic process that consistently comes up every election:


Why the hell do we vote on Tuesdays?

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

The vast majority of states hold their primaries and caucuses on Tuesdays, and Election Day itself is always on a Tuesday in November.

It's strange because Tuesday is, you know ... Tuesday. It's a work day. It's also kind of the worst one. Tuesday is like Monday, but you don't even get to blame your grumpiness, lethargy, and under eye circles on "The Mondays."

Unsurprisingly, the origin of our Tuesday voting tradition is more embarrassingly outdated than an iPhone 4.

You see, back in 1845 (before California was a state and the Civil War was barely a twinkle in Daniel Day-Lewis' eye), farmers needed a day to travel to their local statehouse by horse and buggy.

Plus a day to vote, hang out, and drink some of that old-timey XXX whiskey, and a day to travel back. They didn't want to interfere with days of worship, and Wednesday was market day, so they settled on Tuesday.

"Election Day is on a Tuesday! Plus, everything costs a penny, and butter is always homemade. I love the 1800s!" Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Nowadays, voting on Tuesday is way more of an inconvenience than anything.

Tuesday is rough for me, and my biggest responsibility is usually restocking on cereal.

It's a substantially bigger problem for people with families, kids that have to go from school to soccer practice, jobs that lock you in all day, and just enough time to put dinner on the table before falling asleep to "The Voice."

Tuesday voting is more than just a weird historical anomaly. It actively makes voting harder for millions of people.

And let's face it, voter turnout in this country is already pretty bad. In fact, according to some estimates, we're behind 30 other countries in terms of voter participation.

Many countries, including Belgium, Turkey, and Australia, even have laws that make voting required and failing to participate is punishable with a fine.

That's because participating in democracy is not only important, it's essential to how the whole thing works.


Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

There are plenty of actions and decisions that have made voting harder. Maybe it's time for one that makes it easier.

A lot of people have called for Election Day to become a national holiday, including current presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who said it "would indicate a national commitment to create a vibrant democracy."

It would give more people a chance to vote and make the democratic process way more accessible.

We don't need to go as far as a fine if you fail to cast your ballot, but if we can make a national holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus, we can make a national holiday celebrating democracy. Next to fried food and Bill Withers, it's one of the best things about America.

Plus we'd get to sleep in on a Tuesday. And that's the real prize isn't it?

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

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Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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