Why Thursday Primaries? No One Knows

Tennesseans go to the polls to vote in party primaries on Thursday but nobody really knows why, Politico reports. All other states — except Hawaii, which votes this Saturday — hold their primaries on a Tuesday. The federal government began formally regulating elections in 1845, when it chose Tuesday as the date for all federal general elections. That logic made sense to most states, and when party primaries came into popularity in the early 20th century, all but Tennessee and Hawaii adopted Tuesday as the standard day for both general and primary elections. Tennessee holds its presidential primaries on Super Tuesday, but Charles Sherrill, the Tennessee state librarian and archivist, says he has looked as far back as the records of the first state constitutional convention and cannot find a rationale for why officials decided to hold primaries on Thursday.