“The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.”
—Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution

“Election Day, November, 1884”

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,

‘Twould not be you, Niagara – nor you, ye limitless prairies – nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,

Nor you, Yosemite – nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyserloops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,

Nor Oregon’s white cones – nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes – nor Mississippi’s stream:

This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name – the still small voice vibrating -America’s choosing day,

(The heart of it not in the chosen – the act itself the main, the quadrennial choosing,)

The stretch of North and South arous’d – sea-board and inland – Texas to Maine – the Prairie States – Vermont, Virginia, California,

The final ballot-shower from East to West – the paradox and conflict,

The countless snow-flakes falling – (a swordless conflict,

Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s): the peaceful choice of all,

Or good or ill humanity – welcoming the darker odds, the dross:

– Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify – while the heart pants, life glows:

These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,

Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.

Walt Whitman

(h/t Robert Pinsky at the Boston Globe, via BarbinMD)

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