Election day

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Election day by weekday[needs update]
  several days
San Francisco City Hall illuminated in special LED lighting with the national colors of red, white, and blue on Election Day in the United States (Tuesday 7 November 2018) to commemorate the occasion

Election day or polling day is the day on which general elections are held. In many countries, general elections are always held on a Saturday or Sunday, to enable as many voters as possible to participate; while in other countries elections are always held on a weekday. However, some countries, or regions within a country, which hold elections on a weekday declare election day a public holiday. Countries which permit absentee ballots, early ballots or postal votes to be cast by mail before the election avoid the problem altogether by enabling voters to vote on a day that is more convenient to them.

Sundays are the most common day for elections, but this is less true in the Anglosphere; Saturdays are used in New Zealand and Australia, and weekdays for the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. This is partially due to the influence of Protestantism, which historically set restrictions on activities other than church-going during the Sabbath (usually considered as falling on a Sunday).[1]

An election day usually culminates in an election night when the results of the election are tallied and winners are announced.[2]

Election day by country/territory[edit]

Country/Territory Region Election day
 Albania Europe Sunday.[3]
 Argentina South America Fourth Sunday of October immediately before the end of the current mandates.[4]
 Austria Europe Sunday. Nationalrat elections may be held on another public holiday.[5]
 Australia Oceania Saturday for federal,[6] state and most local elections. Postal and early voting permitted. Some local elections are by postal voting only.
 Belgium Europe Sunday (until 1894, Tuesday).[5]
 Bolivia South America Sunday.[7]
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Europe Sunday.[8]
 Brazil South America First Sunday of October. Runoffs take place on the last Sunday of the same October.[9]
 Bulgaria Europe Sunday.
 Canada North America Third Monday of October every four years, or after Parliament is dissolved by the Governor General.[10]
 Chile South America Sunday.[11]
 Colombia South America Sunday: the second Sunday of March for Congress, and the second Sunday of May for President and Vice President.[12]
 Czech Republic Europe Traditionally elections are held over two days, starting on a Friday afternoon and ending the following Saturday afternoon.[13][14]
 Cyprus Europe Saturday.[15][1]
 Costa Rica North America Sunday: first Sunday of February for the President, Vice-President, and Legislative Assembly; second Sunday of February for municipal elections.[16]
 Croatia Europe Sunday.[17]
 Denmark Europe Elections for the Folketing usually occur on Tuesday, but this is not a statutory requirement.[18]
 Ecuador South America Sunday.[citation needed]
 El Salvador North America Sunday.[citation needed]
 Estonia Europe Elections for the Riigikogu, which chooses both the president and prime minister, are on the first Sunday of March.[19]
 Finland Europe Sunday.[20]
 France Europe Sunday.[5]
 Germany Europe Sunday. Elections to the Bundestag may be held on another public holiday.[21]
 Greece Europe Sunday.[5]
 Hong Kong Asia Sunday for legislative elections. (The Chief Executive of Hong Kong is not elected by universal suffrage)[22]
 Hungary Europe Sunday.[23]
 Iceland Europe Saturday.[1]
 India Asia Elections are held over multiple days.[24] The 2019 Indian general election, which began on a Thursday, took place over seven phases with six days between each phase. Constituencies vote only on the day of their respective phase.[25][26]
 Indonesia Asia Election dates are determined by the General Elections Commission (Indonesian: Komisi Pemilihan Umum, KPU), but must occur "on a holiday or a day determined as a national holiday" per the Indonesian electoral law of 2017.[27]
 Iran Asia Friday for presidential elections.[28]
 Ireland Europe Typically on a Friday, but precise date set by Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government.[29]
 Israel Asia By law on the third Tuesday of Cheshvan, but normally held on a different day.[30] Election day is a holiday in Israel, so people do not have to work.[31]
 Italy Europe Municipal, provincial, and regional elections take place on a Sunday, as do elections for the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate and EU Parliament elections. Occasionally Mondays are added as voting day.[5]
 Japan Asia Sunday.[32]
 Latvia Europe Saturday.[1]
 Lebanon Asia Until 2009, elections were held over several consecutive Sundays.[33] The most recent election, the 2018 Lebanese general election, was also held on a Sunday.
 Lithuania Europe Elections for the Seimas are on the second Sunday of October, and for the president the last Sunday two months before the end of the current president's term.[34]
 Luxembourg Europe Sunday.[5]
 Macau Asia Sunday.[35]
 Macedonia Europe Sunday, but the 2020 North Macedonian parliamentary election departed from this standard. It was held over three weekdays after being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[36]
 Malta Europe Saturday.[1]
 Malaysia Asia Saturday
 Mexico North America First Sunday of July until 2018. From 2021, the first Sunday of June.[37]
 Montenegro Europe Sunday for Parliamentary elections.[38]
 Netherlands Europe Typically on a Wednesday.[5] For elections to the European Parliament, Thursday.[39][5]
 New Zealand Oceania Saturday.[40]
 Nicaragua North America Sunday.[citation needed]
 Norway Europe Monday in early September. Exact date set by the King of Norway.[41]
 Panama North America Sunday.[42]
 Paraguay South America Sunday.[citation needed]
 Peru South America Sunday.[43]
 Philippines Asia Second Monday in May.[44]
 Poland Europe Sunday.[45]
 Portugal Europe Sunday.[5]
 Puerto Rico North America Day after the first Monday in November.[46]
 Romania Europe Sunday.[citation needed]
 Russia Europe Sunday.[47]
 Serbia Europe Sunday.[citation needed]
 Singapore Asia Saturday, but can be any day of the week, such as when a Saturday conflicts with a holiday. By law, polling day is a public holiday if it falls on a weekday.[48]
 Slovakia Europe Saturday.[49]
 Slovenia Europe Sunday.[14]
 South Korea Asia Usually Wednesday. Election day is a national holiday.[50]
 Spain Europe There is no fixed election day for general elections, although since 1986 every general election has been held on Sunday.[n. 1] Municipal and provincial elections take place on the fourth Sunday of May.[5][52]
 Sweden Europe Second Sunday of September.[53][54]
  Switzerland Europe Saturday and Sunday.[55]
 Taiwan Asia Saturday.[56][1]
 Thailand Asia Sunday.[57]
 Turkey Europe Sunday.[58]
 Ukraine Europe Sunday.[citation needed]
 United Kingdom Europe Thursday.[55] See also: Election Day (United Kingdom)
 United States North America All federal elections take place the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.[59] See also: Election Day (United States)
 Uruguay South America Sunday.[citation needed]
 Venezuela South America Sunday.[60]
 Vietnam Asia Sunday.[61]

Other bodies[edit]

Elections to the European Parliament take place over a period of four days (i.e., Thursday through to Sunday), according to the election days of the EU members states (as listed above). There are some exceptions; as Wednesday was not covered by the available dates, the Netherlands holds elections on Thursday, while Denmark holds elections on Sunday. Countries that hold the ballot before Sunday are not permitted to announce results until all other countries have finished voting.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 22 June 1986, 29 October 1989, 6 June 1993, 3 March 1996, 12 March 2000, 14 March 2004, 9 March 2008, 20 November 2011, 20 December 2015, 26 June 2016.[51]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Brett, Judith (2019). From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage: How Australia Got Compulsory Voting. Text Publishing. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-925626-81-0. Retrieved 30 May 2020. Australia is one of only a handful of countries to hold elections on Saturdays. Cyprus, Malta, Iceland, Latvia, Slovakia, Taiwan, and New Zealand are the others. ... Most countries go to the polls on Sundays, except in the Protestant-dominated Anglosphere, where public activities on the Sabbath other than attending church have historically been severely restricted.
  2. ^ Orr, Graeme (2016). "10". Ritual and Rhythm in Electoral Systems: A Comparative Legal Account.
  3. ^ "THE ELECTORAL CODE OF THE REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA." Law no. 10 019. December 29, 2008.
  4. ^ "National Electoral Code – Article 53 and 148". InfoLEG (in Spanish).
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j European Democracies (PDF) (Report). Electoral Reform Society. June 2017. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  6. ^ "Elections and voting in Australia" (PDF). Museum of Australian Democracy. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  7. ^ Report of the 2014 National Lawyers Guild Bolivian Election Observation Delegation (PDF) (Report). National Lawyers Guild. 20 January 2015. p. 7. Retrieved 30 May 2020. In most respects, Election Day appeared to be a model of local democracy in action, with notable differences from the US voting process. Elections are held on Sundays that are declared national holidays. All regular business is shut down to encourage voter turnout. Voting is compulsory--with non-excused abstention punishable by a hefty fine--as well as highly participatory. To encourage unbiased reflection, campaigning is prohibited for 72 hours ahead of the election, and the consumption of alcoholic beverages is outlawed for 48 hours.
  8. ^ Schakel 2017, p. 42: "General elections for the state, entity and cantonal parliaments take place on the same date every four years. ... Elections are held on Sundays and election silence kicks in one day prior to the start of voting and lasts until the polling stations close. Bosnia and Herzegovina citizens residing abroad keep their full voting rights but rarely exercise it."
  9. ^ "Electoral Law – Article 1". InfoLEG (in Portuguese).
  10. ^ "Elections Canada". Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  11. ^ Law No. 18.700, Aprueba la Ley Orgánica Constitucional sobre Votaciones Populares y Escrutinios. Article 169 ("Los plebiscitos comunales se efectuarán en día domingo."); Article 174 ("Las elecciones no periódicas de Diputados se realizarán en la fecha que establezca el Presidente de la República ... que deberá recaer en un día domingo no anterior al nonagésimo ni posterior al centésimo vigésimo siguiente a la publicación de dicho decreto.").
  12. ^ Election Law of Colombia (in Spanish), February 1993, p. 185. “Las elecciones para Congreso de la República se realizarán el segundo domingo de marzo. Las elecciones de Presidente y Vicepresidente se realizarán el segundo domingo de mayo. En caso que debe celebrarse nueva votación, de conformidad con lo dispuesto por el artículo 190 de la Constitución Política, esta tendrá lugar tres (3) semanas mas tarde."
  13. ^ "General elections 2017". Radio Prague. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  14. ^ a b Voting hours for elections in EU Member States (PDF) (Report). Oireachtas Library & Research Service. 30 June 2015. pp. 1–4. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  15. ^ "Holding the Election". www.vaalit.fi. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  16. ^ Electoral Act (Article 150). Legislative Assembly of the Republic of Costa Rica. 2 September 2009. p. 72.
  17. ^ Schakel, Arjan H. (2017). Regional and National Elections in Eastern Europe: Territoriality of the Vote in Ten Countries. London: Palgrave Macmillian. ISBN 978-1-137-51787-6. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  18. ^ Folketing (January 2011). "The Parliamentary Electoral System in Denmark" (PDF). p. 18. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  19. ^ Olechno, Artur (2011). Political Systems Of The Central And Eastern European Countries. p. 91. ISBN 9788362813155. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  20. ^ Aggeborn, Linuz (2011). Voting System Voter Turnout Policy Outcome (PDF) (Master's thesis). Uppsala University.
  21. ^ "§16 Bundeswahlgesetz". Bundeswahlgesetz Bundesrepublik Deutschland (in German). Bundesministerium der Justiz. 3 June 2008. p. 12. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  22. ^ Consultation Report on Review of Electoral Arrangements (PDF) (Report). Hong Kong Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau. May 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  23. ^ Arató, Krisztina (2020). "Hungary". In Hloušek, Vít; Kaniok, Petr (eds.). The European Parliament Election of 2019 in East-Central Europe. p. 107. ISBN 9783030408589. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  24. ^ Massicotte, Louis; Blais, André; Yoshinaka, Antoine (January 2004). Establishing the Rules of the Game: Election Laws in Democracies. University of Toronto Press. pp. 116–118. ISBN 978-0802085641.
  25. ^ "India Elects 2019: The World's Largest Election, Explained". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  26. ^ "Why do India's elections take so long?". The Economist. 11 April 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  27. ^ LAW OF REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA, NUMBER 7 YEAR 2017, GOVERNING ELECTIONS (167). People's Consultative Assembly of Indonesia. 15 August 2017. p. 116.
  28. ^ قانون انتخابات رياست جمهوري ايران [Presidential Electoral Law of the Islamic Republic of Iran] (PDF) (Chapter 20) (in Persian). Islamic Consultative Assembly. 2 March 1992.
  29. ^ Ryan, Phillip; Horan, Niamh; O'Connor, Niall (31 January 2016). "Six Nations match at the centre of row over election date - Independent.ie". Independent.ie. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  30. ^ Hoffman, Gil Stern (24 March 2015). "With full term possible, Netanyahu may outlast Ben-Gurion (and Obama)". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  31. ^ Sharabi, Meital (4 April 2019). "Eclectic election day activities". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  32. ^ Hrebenar, Ronald J. (2000). Japan's New Party System. Westview Press. p. 57. ISBN 978-0813330570. The decisions regarding which days will be election days and how the voters will indicate their candidate preferences are uniquely Japanese. Election days call on Sundays in Japan. Because Sunday is a holiday, primary and junior high schools can be used as voting sites; moreover, it is assumed that more citizens will be able to vote on a Sunday. But the choice of which Sunday is usually left up to the politicians.
  33. ^ Arda Arsenian Ekmekji (July 2012). Confessionalism and Electoral Reform in Lebanon (PDF) (Report). Aspen Institute. p. 11. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  34. ^ Olechno, Artur (2011). Political Systems Of The Central And Eastern European Countries. pp. 105–108. ISBN 9788362813155. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  35. ^ "Voters reminded not to reveal voting intention at Sunday's polling". 14 June 2019.
  36. ^ Cvetanoski, Ilcho (15 July 2020). "North Macedonia at the polls today". OBC Transeuropa. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  37. ^ Wall, Alan (14 June 2012). "Elections in Mexico and the US: Comparisons and contrasts". Mexconnect. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  38. ^ "Law on Election of Councillors and Members of Parliament". Council of Europe, Venice Commission. 18 February 1998.
  39. ^ "Elections". European Parliament. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  40. ^ "Election Days – General Elections 1853-2011". nzhistory.govt.nz. Ministry for Culture and Heritage, New Zealand. 24 November 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  41. ^ "The main features of the Norwegian electoral system". Government.no. 6 July 2017. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  42. ^ González, Elizabeth (1 June 2022). "Tribunal Electoral de Panamá convoca a elecciones generales de 2024". CNN (in Spanish). Retrieved 5 July 2022.
  43. ^ Carter, Jimmy. "Peru Can Give U.S. Lessons in How to Hold Elections". www.cartercenter.org. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  44. ^ Lazo, Ricardo S. (2009). Philippine governance and the 1987 constitution (2009 2nd ed.). Manila, Philippines: Published & distributed by Rex Book Store. p. 161. ISBN 9789712345463.
  45. ^ Grabowska, Miroslava (2016). "Religiosity, the Catholic Church, and Politics in Poland". In Ramet, Sabrina P.; Borowik, Irena (eds.). Religion, Politics, and Values in Poland: Continuity and Change Since 1989. Palgrave MacMillan. p. 268. ISBN 9781137437518. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  46. ^ “Código Electoral de Puerto Rico para el Siglo XXI”: Ley Núm. 78 de 1 de Junio de 2011, según enmendada. CAPÍTULO IX. – PROCEDIMIENTOS ANTERIORES A LA ELECCIÓN; VOTACIÓN: Artículo 9.001. – Fecha de las Elecciones. – (16 L.P.R.A. § 4141) Gobierno de Puerto Rico. San Juan, Puerto Rico. p. 66 of 104. Accessed 8 November 2019.
  47. ^ "Статья 10. Назначение выборов" [Article 10. Election scheduling]. Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation (in Russian). Retrieved 28 December 2018. Голосование на выборах может быть назначено только на воскресенье.
  48. ^ "GE2015: First time Polling Day falls on a Friday, but not first time polls held on a weekday". The Straits Times. 25 August 2015.
  49. ^ "180/2014 Z.z. - Zákon o podmienkach výkonu volebnéh..." Slov-lex (in Slovak).
  50. ^ Butcher, Luke. "The Effectiveness of Early Voting – A Case Study of the Republic of Korea" (PDF). Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  51. ^ "Elecciones Generales". Junta Electoral Central.
  52. ^ "Ley Orgánica 5/1985, de 19 de junio, del Régimen Electoral General". Boletín Oficial del Estado.
  53. ^ "Elections in Sweden". V-Dem. Archived from the original on 24 June 2021. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  54. ^ Riksdagsförvaltningen. "Elections to the Riksdag". www.riksdagen.se. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  55. ^ a b Election Day: Weekend Voting (PDF) (Report). Ministry of Justice of Great Britain. September 2008. p. 10. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  56. ^ "Election Day in Taiwan". Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  57. ^ Campbell, Michael (16 December 2016). Election Reform Effects on Policy Targeting: Voter Responses to Rice Subsidies in Thailand (Thesis). University of Colorada–Denver. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  59. ^ Montanaro, Domenico (1 November 2016). "Why Do We Vote on Tuesdays?". NPR.org. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  60. ^ Alexander, Robin (17 January 2013). "Elections in Venezuela and Pennsylvania: Lessons in Democracy?". North American Congress on Latin America. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  61. ^ Nguyen, Mai Thuyen. "An overall look at Vietnam's election law". Vietnam Law & Legal Forum. Retrieved 2 December 2021. Accordingly, all Vietnamese citizens satisfying the law-specified conditions are entitled to exercise the rights to vote and to stand for election; the Vietnamese State has the obligation to legally guarantee and create favorable conditions for citizens to exercise their rights. The current election law makes it clearer by stipulating that elections will be held on Sundays so that voters may arrange their schedules to go to the polls while polling places must be located at areas convenient for voters and those who cannot go to polling booths may cast their votes with mobile ballot boxes.