I understand that it can be favorable to create a predictable timetable for elections, however, I don't understand why certain countries decide to time their elections in a certain month.


  • In the United States, the federal election is specifically mandated to happen in November.
  • In Estonia, the parliamentary election must happen in March.
  • In Sweden, the parliamentary election must happen in September.
  • In Lithuania, the parliamentary election must happen in October.

What are the considerations that go into these decisions? Is it arbitrary? Or are there reasons such as the climate or seasons (e.g. people might be more willing to vote in the pleasant autumn breeze rather than the scortching summer heat.)

  • Notably, such countries cannot have a concept of dissolution of parliament, can they? Oct 11 '20 at 14:45
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    "Why certain countries decide to time their elections in a certain month" - there might be false assumption here. Rather than it being an ongoing decision, some countries have fixed terms, and so it follows that the election will take place at the same time periodically. That time would have been decided only once at the beginning.
    – JBentley
    Oct 11 '20 at 14:50
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    @HagenvonEitzen There are several ways to do it actually. In the case of Estonia, if an extraordinary election takes place, their term will last only until the next fixed-scheduled election, essentially the term will be cut short slightly early to reset the clock. In the case of Sweden, the ordinary elections will take place on schedule regardless how many extraordinary elections they choose to have in between. In short, having scheduled election does not necessarily mean no dissolution. Oct 11 '20 at 17:14

Cold winters, planting/harvesting seasons in spring and early fall, and the convenience to travel to the polling stations seems to be the answer. I would add vacation season in summer, too.

This article sums it up very well. It is about the US, but most factors seem to apply to other countries as well:

But why a Tuesday in November? The answer stems from the agrarian makeup of 19th-century America. In the 1800s, most citizens worked as farmers and lived far from their polling place. Since people often traveled at least a day to vote, lawmakers needed to allow a two-day window for Election Day. Weekends were impractical, since most people spent Sundays in church, and Wednesday was market day for farmers.

With this in mind, Tuesday was selected as the first and most convenient day of the week to hold elections. Farm culture also explains why Election Day always falls in November. Spring and early summer elections were thought to interfere with the planting season, and late summer and early fall elections overlapped with the harvest. That left the late fall month of November—after the harvest was complete, but before the arrival of harsh winter weather—as the best choice.

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