US Election 2020: All you need to know

This year's US election will fall on November 3.

When is the US election?

Election day is always on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, as set by US law. This year, it will fall on November 3.

US election has actually been going on for months. The selection of candidates started in early 2020 and mostly wrapped up by summer. Major political parties, Republicans and Democrats, have picked their nominees to run the presidential election. Nominees this year are Donald Trump from The Republicans, Joe Biden from The Democrats.

 How many political parties are there?

Two parties that dominate are The Democrats and The Republicans. Photo source: Shutterstock

Only two parties dominate the US political system. The elected president will secure another four years in power.

The Democrats, are the liberal political party in the US. Their chosen candidate for this year’s election is Joe Biden, 77. Joe Biden is an experienced politician, who served as Obama’s vice president for eight years. The party focuses on issues like civil rights, immigration, and climate change. Democrats fight for people’s lives. For instance, providing health insurance.

In fact, supporters tend to be stronger in urban areas in the US.

Former Democratic presidents: John F Kennedy, Barack Obama

The Republicans, also known as GOP, Grand Old Party are the conservative political party in the US. Their chosen candidate for this year’s election is President Donald Trump, 74. The party stands for lower taxes, gun rights and tighter restrictions of immigration.

In fact, supporters tend to be stronger in rural areas in the US.

Former Republicans presidents: George W Bush, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon

What is the election about?

Voters get to vote for president. But voters will also be choosing new members of Congress in their ballots on election day.

Congress is a part of the US government that writes and passes laws. Besides, Congress has two chambers, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Members of the House serve two-year terms. Meanwhile, senators serve six-year terms. They are split into three groups which mean one-third of them will up for an election every two years.

This year, 435 seats in the House along with 33 Senate seats are up for election.

How is the final winner decided?

Electoral votes are to determine the final winning candidate for president. Photo source: BBC

In the US presidential election, citizens do not directly elect a president and vice president. However, electors determine the winner with a process called Electoral College. In each state, each party chooses a group of electors. The chosen electors promise to vote for their party’s candidate.

The people in each state vote a candidate for the president. And the results in the particular state determine which electors selected for the state. Then, the electoral votes for that state go for the candidate that receives the most votes in the state. In other words, when citizens vote for a party’s candidate, they are actually choosing that party’s electors for their state.

The process compromises between popular votes from citizens and votes in Congress.

Electoral college votes determine who the winner is. In fact, it is a group of officials set by the US constitution, state and federal laws. Each state has a different number of electors. The number of electors is based on the number of representatives and senators in Congress. There are a total of 538 electors, so a candidate has to win 270 or more to be in power.

Most states stand heavily on one party or the other. Thus, focus usually falls on swing states in which either of them could win. Swing states are where voters split evenly between Democrats and Republicans.

Who is eligible to vote?

Minimum age to vote in the US is 18. Photo source: iStock

Anyone aged 18 or over, and a US citizen, you should be eligible to vote. To avoid voter fraud, voters are to show identification documents for legal proof.

When will the winner take office?

Following the election, President Trump will not be replaced immediately. There will a transition period for the new leader to appoint cabinet ministers and to make plans.

On a Wednesday, January 20, 2021. The new president will have an inauguration ceremony. The ceremony will be held on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington DC.

More Information About:

Content source: 

  1. US elections explained
  2. US election 2020: A really simple guide
  3. Presidential Election Process
  4. Electoral college



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