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Answered: Why are US prez polls held on a Tuesday in November?

November 06, 2012 17:32 IST
Ever wondered why the mascot of the Democrats is a donkey? Why Republicans are linked to the colour red? And what happens if the American presidential elections end in a tie?

If you have been baffled why the presidential elections in the United States are always held in November, and always on Tuesdays, the answer might lie in the weather, harvests and worship.

Back when voters travelled to the polls by horse, Tuesday was an ideal day because it allowed people to worship on Sunday, ride to their county seat on Monday and vote on Tuesday -- all before market day, Wednesday, CNN reported.

The month of November also fit nicely between harvest time and brutal winter weather --  which can be especially bad for those trudging along by horse and buggy.

Experts have also answered why donkey is the mascot for the Democratic party.

In 1828, Democrat Andrew Jackson's critics called him a "jackass" because of his populist views and his slogan, "Let the people rule".

Jackson decided to run with it -- even using images of a donkey in his campaign ads. Later, cartoonist Thomas Nast also used a donkey to depict the Democratic party.

Another mystery solved is why Democratic states are "blue" and why Republican states are "red".

There are logical reasons to use red and blue -- both are colours in the American flag, and they look sharp on infographics because they're on opposite ends of the colour spectrum.

But the seemingly arbitrary colour assignments have actually flip-flopped over the years. In 1980, states won by Republican Ronald Reagan were coloured blue; Democrat Jimmy Carter's states were coloured red.

Even as late as 1996, major media outlets were divided on how to colour-code the parties. But in 2000, when Americans were subjected to weeks of news about recounts, pregnant chads and electoral infographics, everyone seemed to get on the same page and shaded Republican-leaning states red and Democratic-leaning states blue.

The report also explained what would happen if candidates tie in electoral votes.

It's possible that incumbent US President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney snag the exact same number of electoral votes.

In that case, the 12th Amendment says the House of Representatives gets to pick the president. And since analysts expect Republicans to maintain control of the House, Romney would likely win the presidency, the report said.

In the same scenario, the Senate would get to choose the vice president. And because Democrats are expected to keep control of that chamber, senators could select incumbent Vice President Joe Biden to form a split administration.

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