John Quiggin asks why the U.S. as one of the only countries in the world holds elections on ordinary weekdays and not on a Sunday (or equivalent holiday). Sto (this guy? 😉 ) beat me to it with the comment that Denmark traditionally has held elections on Tuesdays – though election days have drifted a bit during later years: Elections have been held on Thursdays and even Wednesdays.
And as a matter of fact, the 2004 European election was held on … tadaa … a Sunday. Not that that did anything to increase the dismal turn-out. Turn-out was down 2,5 percentage points compared with 1999.
I can’t say with any certainty why Tuesday became the traditional election day in Denmark – in the Danish case, the suspicion that holding elections on a working day would reduce turn-out doesn’t really make sense. The only good explanation I can come up with, would be that town markets were held on Tuesdays, meaning that farmers would go to the nearest town anyway. In that way choosing Tuesday instead of Sunday would actually have increased turn-out in the 19th Century.
Norway and Sweden hold elections on Sundays, but we should note that a) some Norwegian districts have the opportunity to hold election stations open on both Sunday and Monday and b) Sweden has a highly developed system of postal voting which means that the actual day is of minor importance.
Update: Post-posting proof-reading.