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AMERICAN MOSAIC - November 1, 2002: Music by James Taylor / Question About the Visa Lottery / Election Day - 2002-10-31


Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today:

We play music by James Taylor ...

Answer a listener’s question about the visa lottery ...

And report about American election day next Tuesday.

Election Day


Tuesday, November fifth, is election day in the United States. Americans will go to voting places to choose all four-hundred-thirty-five members of the House of Representatives and thirty-four Senators. They will also elect thirty-six state governors and other state and local officials. And voters in forty states will vote to support or reject financial proposals. Such elections are always held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Shep O’Neal tells us why.


The decision to hold elections on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November was made by lawmakers many years ago. It involved the general and permanent laws of the United States. They are listed and kept in a group of books known as the United States Code. The Code is prepared and published by a legal office of the House of Representatives.

In eighteen-forty-five, the code established that presidential electors would be appointed on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November every fourth year. In eighteen-seventy-five, it established the date for electing members to the House of Representatives in every even-numbered year.

In nineteen-fourteen, it established the date and the time for electing members to the Senate.

The lawmakers chose early November because most Americans at that time lived on farms. They thought November was the best time for farmers and other workers to be able to travel to voting places. Their harvest was finished and the weather was still good enough in most of the country to permit such travel.

The lawmakers chose Tuesdays because most of the people had to travel long distances to voting places. Monday was not considered a good day for an election. It would have forced people to begin their trips on Sunday, the day many people attended church services.

The Federal Election Commission says lawmakers chose the Tuesday after the first Monday because they wanted to prevent Election Day from falling on the first of November. There were two reasons for this. November first is All Saints Day, a holy day for Roman Catholics. Also, most business owners worked on their financial records on the first day of each month.

The Federal Election Commission says Congress was worried that the economic success or failure of the earlier month could influence those votes.

Visa Lottery


Our VOA listener question this week comes from Nigeria. Patrick Anyanwu asks about America’s visa lottery program.

Its official name is the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. Each year, it offers people around the world the legal right to work and live permanently in the United States.

The State Department’s National Visa Center supervises the program. This year, fifty-thousand people have a chance to win a permit known as an immigrant visa. It also is called a green card.

To be considered, you must have completed high school. Or you must have two years of recent work experience in a job that requires at least two years of training or experience.

Also, you or your husband or wife must be from a country permitted to take part in the visa lottery. The program is open only to people born in countries that have low rates of immigration to the United States.

The visa lottery is not offered to people born in countries that have sent more than fifty-thousand immigrants to the United States during the past five years.

These include Britain and its territories except Northern Ireland, Canada, mainland China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Other countries whose people may not take part are India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam. Again, people born in these countries may not take part in the visa lottery program this year.

The winners of the visa lottery are chosen by a computer program. They are informed by mail. Every one chosen is given a chance to request the right to work and live permanently in the United States. The winners also are permitted to bring their husband or wife and any unmarried children under the age of twenty-one.

It does not cost any money to enter the diversity visa lottery program. However, the winners must pay for the visa and other expenses.The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is open for a one-month period during October. Last year, the National Visa Center accepted visa requests from more than six-million-two-hundred-thousand people.

This year, the visa requests must be received in the United States by November sixth.

For more information, use a computer search engine and type the words visa lottery -- vi-s-a l-o-t-t-e-r-y. You can also talk with someone at the United States embassy or diplomatic office in your country.

October Road


American singer and songwriter James Taylor has been recording and performing music for more than thirty years. He has sold more than thirty-million records and won many Grammy Awards. Two years ago, he was named to both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. He recently released his first album in five years. Mary Tillotson tells us about it.


The album is called “October Road”. James Taylor wrote most of the songs. He says that all his songs are personal because they come from his life. Here is one of these songs, “On the Fourth of July”.


Many of the songs on “October Road” are about the competing desires to stay in one place and to move around. One of these songs is called “My Traveling Star”.


James Taylor will be traveling for several months to perform songs from his new album. Critics say one of the best of these is a swinging jazz song called “Mean Old Man.” We leave you now with James Taylor singing that song from his new album, “October Road.”



This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. And I hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.

This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by George Grow and Nancy Steinbach. Our studio engineer was Curtis Bynum. And our producer was Paul Thompson.