Essay on The US Election Systems
The general election is considered a pivotal aspect of the nation’s history. As a developed country, the US election attracts attention globally. This is because the United States politics influence alliances, trade consensus, and the economy. Over the years, political analysts and different governments have taken the initiative to understand the US election system. According to Belenky (2012), the US election system was formed during the 1787 Constitutional Convention. The system was created as part of the Great Compromise between the large and small states of free settlers. Over the years, the election system has gone through a series of amendments to accommodate new demands and requirements. Hence, the upcoming elections in November 2020 will allow the citizens to exercise their duty to the country.
US Election System: Facts you need to know
What are the involved parties?
The US political system is dominated to the two parties; the Democrats and the Republicans. The Democrats are considered the liberal political party in the state. Presently the Democrat candidate is Joe Biden, who served as President Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years. On the other hand, the Republicans are conservatives who are represented by President Donald Trump. Over the years, the Republican Party has always supported gun rights, lower taxes, and more robust immigration restrictions.
Further, support for this party is stronger in the rural areas of America. This is because rural voters are more conservative on family and social issues than those who reside in the city. Additionally, the majority of rural voters have high property ownership. As self-employed individuals, they will likely not turn to the government for help. Despite that, there are other third parties; the President always belongs to either the Democrat or Republican Party.
In contrast, the Democratic Party advocates for liberalism and recommends environmental protection. Further, this party is renowned for its contribution to universal health care, affordable college tuition, social program expansion, and equal opportunities. The party’s initiative to advocate for equality is evident as they promote equal pay, immigration reforms, LGBTQ rights, and criminal justice. Some of the renowned democrats are Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama.
When is the Election Conducted?
Initially, the states could hold their elections at a preferred date within a 34-day duration before the first Wednesday in December. Nonetheless, this structure changed in 1845 when a decision was made that the presidential election will be conducted on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The election was the day “after the first Monday” because the majority of Christians observed November 1 as All Saints’ Day. Additionally, in the 1800s, the majority of citizens worked as farmers. This farm culture also highlights why the Election Day was designated for November. The objective was to streamline the election system by dictating how elections are conducted throughout the country. Presently, a day that was chosen for convenience is no longer favorable. The majority of the population are not farmers, and Tuesday is a working day for the professionals. Consequently, the voter turnout has declined since most voters are engaged during Election Day. Thus, to ensure everyone gets the opportunity to vote, individuals are allowed to vote early or by mail.
The US Constitution does not exclusively highlight the right to vote. This was a right that was considered as a privilege reserved for the elite white men in the country. Based on Douglas (2014), the US Constitution provided the state with the power to determine voter eligibility. Notably, the Election Clause allows Congress to dictate how the federal elections should be conducted but not who will vote (Douglas, 2014). In this regard, the right to vote is characterized by disagreements over voter ID policies, poll taxes, and literacy tests. Additionally, the lack of robust voting laws has influenced the presence of laws that seek to keep certain groups like African Americans from voting. In the upcoming elections, the right to vote will be instrumental in the success of the election process.
The Electoral College
The United States, unlike other countries, lacks a centralized and national election authority. The candidates during the US election are elected based on popular vote. However, the vice president and President are not directly elected by the citizens. This responsibility is given to the electors via the Electoral College. This framework was selected as an agreement between popular vote by citizens and congressional vote. Based on Congressional delegation, the electors are commissioned to the states, one for every representative and two for senators (Menocal, 2011). In this case, the fifty states inclusive of Washington DC are required to have 538 total electoral votes.
This number is facilitated by the number of congressional districts in which a representation of the population counts. The candidate needs 270 majority electoral votes to win. This is why a candidate can get enough via the electoral votes but lose the popular vote. The Electoral College has in two of the last presidential elections overruled the popular vote; Donald Trump in 2016 and George Bush in 2000. Further, when the candidates don’t achieve the vote of 270 electors, the vote is passed to the House of Representatives. The House members will elect the new President from the top three candidates. Senate, on the other hand, will choose the vice president from the other top two candidates. Hence, in November 2020, the Electoral College will have an integral role in deciding US citizens’ fate.
Belenky, A. S. (2012). Understanding the fundamentals of the US presidential election system. Springer Science & Business Media.
Douglas, J. A. (2014). The right to vote under state constitutions. Vand. L. Rev., 67, 89.
Menocal, A. R. (2011). Why electoral systems matter: an analysis of their incentives and effects on key areas of governance. Overseas Development Institute.