This is why the general election is always held on a Thursday

topshot a dog, wearing a raincoat, waits for its owner to return outside a polling station in north london
This is why the election is always on a ThursdayTOLGA AKMEN - Getty Images

In case you weren't aware, something pretty big is occurring in the UK this summer: the general election. On 4 July, people across the country will head to their local polling station to cast a vote for which party they want to govern us for the next few years.

But if you're a naturally curious kind of person (like us, obvs) you might be wondering why the general election is always held on a Thursday. It happens every time, after all.

Turns out, there's no deep and hidden meaning behind it all, and it's essentially just us Brits being British. Put simply: we don't like change.

According to a report from the BBC, there is no set rule that elections must be held on a Thursday, they just have been since 1931 and so it's become something of a tradition.

polling station sign on a brick wall
Getty Images

Having said that, nowadays we've also got the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, which states that general elections must usually be held on the first Thursday in May, once every five years.

There are exceptions to that rule though, like this year — the big day is allowed to take place in July as it still falls within the five-year rotation since the last election (which took place in December 2019, just FYI).

But that statute was only implemented in 2011, following the Thursday tradition that had already been in place for 70 years. So, is there any particular reason voting was habitually planned to take place on that specific day all those years ago?

These are the theories: Friday was traditionally payday, which meant most people would be down the pub and therefore too preoccupied to vote (priorities). Sunday was also a no go because there were concerns the priests' sermons might influence citizens' votes. Thursday, however, was known as the market town day, when people would be travelling into town anyway, so it was thought that it would be convenient for them to cast their vote while they were there. And we've carried on like that more or less ever since...

So there's your lesson in pointless history for today. Use the knowledge well!

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