In What Month Do We Vote for President?

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The United States Presidential election is held every four years.
Last modified: January 19, 2023

In what month do we vote for President?


We vote for the President in November.

At What Time of Year Do We Vote for President?

The whole election process is complex, from nominating a presidential candidate to the winner entering the White House for their four-year term. 

Every four years, the election on a Tuesday in November sees the country decide between the final nominees to determine the President-Elect. Then follows a transitional period until January 20th, when they are sworn into office.

Why Is the Presidential Vote on a Tuesday in November?

The idea of voting on a Tuesday in November sounds illogical in modern-day America. November is cold and dark by 8 pm while people are still trying to vote, and there is a high risk of bad weather.

Countless voters work or study during the day while they would be freer to vote on a weekend. Yet, the day and month have never changed.

The reason is that when the process initially started, farmers were of central importance. Farmers needed to be able to travel to their closest polling location at a time that suited their schedule. 

They had church on Sunday and the market on Wednesday, so they traveled on a Monday to vote on a Tuesday. Furthermore, November was less busy when they weren’t dealing with planting and harvesting crops.

Is Election Day a Federal Holiday?

The states have varying provisions for taking time off for a presidential election. Some states provide legal holidays for all general and state elections, while others only for the main November election.

There are calls for the day to be a federal holiday nationally via the Freedom to Vote Act. Supporters say it would make it easier for workers to attend the vote and potentially increase voter numbers. Critics argue that people would use the day to do other things, negatively affecting voter turnout.

When Is the Election Winner Announced?

The votes for the presidential elections are counted after the polls close. It can take a long time for all the polls to close because of the difference in time zones.

For example, a registered voter in California could cast their ballot at a local station long after the polls in Florida have closed.

Exit Polls

Next, we have the exit polls and predicted winners before a state is finally ready to declare the official results.

Neither party can claim victory until they reach the majority of Electoral College votes across all states. That target is 270 out of 538.

It’s possible there could be a winner long before some states have finished counting if there is a landslide. But, a close race could lead to recounts where a winner isn’t declared for days.

When Does the Winner Become President?

After a candidate has been successfully voted for as the president, we have what is known as a President-Elect.

The winning candidate is assured four years in the White House, barring resignation, impeachment, or death in office.

However, the current president must see out their term and hand over power. There is a figurative passing of the torch as the President-Elect plans for life in the Oval Office.

When Is the Inauguration?

The inauguration doesn’t take place until the following January – on the 20th. This is when the winning candidate takes the oath of office, as does the Vice President that was their running mate during the campaign.

There is a grand ceremony in the capital with an address to the public and the official moment of a change in power.

The transfer of power occurs at noon, which means even if they are sworn in at 11:58, there are two minutes where it isn’t official. This also means that the President-Elect can be president at noon on a Sunday but take office publicly a day later.

Why Did the Inauguration Date Change?

It is also interesting to note that January 20th wasn’t the original date of the inauguration. The original date was the 4th of March, which sounds like a better time of year for an outdoor celebration, even if President William Henry Harrison still caught pneumonia at his.

Critics felt this left an overly long transition period between the election and the power transfer. The major problem was that there were “Lame Duck” Congress sessions with members that hadn’t been re-elected.

So, a motion was presented in the 20th Amendment to the Constitution and ratified in 1933. Franklin Roosevelt was the first to be inaugurated on this new date.

How Many Years Are There Between November Elections?

Every presidential term lasts four years, and then we return to the polls and vote again. Anyone that has been president for a single term can bid for one more. This was brought in via the 22nd Amendment after Franklin Roosevelt was elected for four terms.

At the time of writing, the last presidential election was held in 2020, with President Biden taking office in January 2021. The country will vote again on a Tuesday in November 2024, where President Trump could run again, or we will see fresh nominations from the Democrats and Republicans.

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