US Elections 2020
Register and attend
Follow the Election with
the key dates worth watching
Biden Town Hall
CNN hosts a town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania with Joe Biden.
Early Voting Open
Minnesota becomes the first state to open early voting.
First Presidential Debate
Chris Wallace hosts the first debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohi.
Senate Judiciary Committee Testimony
The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to call former FBI Director James Comey, among others, to probe their roles in the Russia Investigation of President Trump.
Susan Page hosts the only
debate between Vice President
Mike Pence and Senator
Kamala Harris from the
University of Utah in Salt Lake
Second Presidential Debate
Steve Scully hosts the second debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden from the Adrienne Arsht Centre for Performing Arts in Miami, Florida
Third Presidential Debate
Kristen Welker hosts the third debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee
America heads to the polls to decide their president for the next four years. The result is typically known that evening
Polls Close in Alaska and Hawaii
Polls close in western states Alaska and Hawaii in the early hours.
Electoral College Votes
A formality and historical legacy, those elected to the Electoral College by a popular vote in each state cast their votes on who will become President.
Electoral College Votes Counted
Congress meets in Washington, DC to count the Electoral College votes.
The winner and his running mate is sworn in as President and Vice President at the Capitol in Washington, DC.
Most importantly, the election will decide who is President for the next four years. Also at stake is who will become Vice President as well as every seat in the House Of Representatives and 35 Senate seats. At its essence, control of the Executive and Legislative branches of government is on the line.
Presidential elections are held every four years. In between presidential elections, midterm elections are held to vote on House of Representative and some Senate seats.
Candidates are elected through one of two mechanisms, decided on a state-by-state basis by each party. These are primaries and caucuses. Primaries are a vote on the presidential nomination by party members. Caucuses, which are less common, are an in-person debate and negotiation to get to a single nomination. Primaries are significantly more widespread.
It is rare for a President not to win a second-term. Only 10 Presidents in history, of the 45 who have held office, sought a second-term and failed to win. The most recent incumbent that failed to return to office was George H.W. Bush who lost the 1992 election to Bill Clinton.
The Republican Party has had 19 presidents elected, including George W Bush and Donald Trump this century. The Democratic Party has had 14 presidents, most recently Barack Obama. There have been 11 presidents elected from now defunct parties, most recently the Union Party’s Andrew Johnson in 1865.
Generally, any American citizen over the age of 18 is eligible to vote if they have registered to do so. Voting in the United States, however, is decentralised so individual states have differing eligibility criteria with some states restricting the ability of those mentally incapacitated or those with felony convictions from voting.
Voter suppression is a political tactic in an electoral system with non-compulsory voting. It typically favours right-wing parties. In the United States, voter suppression has been associated as a tactic with the Republican Party.
Red states are states that nearly always vote Republican. Notable red states include most of the southern states such as Georgia and Alabama as well as the likes of Idaho and Alaska. Blue states are those that typically vote Democrat. Notable blue states include the heartland of New England, California and Illinois.
Swing states are states that change hands and do not systematically vote for the candidate from the same party. Notable swing states include Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Arizona.
The Electoral College is the body that formally elects the President and Vice-President. It consists of 538 electors with 270 votes required for an absolute majority. Technically, voters vote for electors to nominate their candidate during a presidential election. Each state sends their designated number of electors to the Electoral College.
The biggest states have the biggest representation. California has 55 votes while Texas has 38, New York 29, Florida 29, Illinois 20 and Pennsylvania 20.
If no candidate gets 270 votes, the House Of Representatives votes on the President, choosing among the three highest polling candidates. The Senate then chooses the Vice President from the two remaining candidates.
It has happened on 17 occasions, firstly in 1824 when John Adams was elected and most recently in 2016 when Donald Trump was elected to the highest office. The Founding Fathers attempted to share power between the states and federal governments and gave the popular vote no legal standing.
The Election Result is typically known on the evening of Election Day but with a close vote the result can take days and sometimes weeks to be known.
The winner becomes the President-Elect and a transition period of Government takes place allowing the incoming President to form a cabinet before taking the reins of power on January 20, two-and-a-half months after the election.
Barack Obama became the first African-American President in 2008. There has never been a female President or Vice-President.
Landslide victories have not been uncommon in Presidential history. Six times a candidate has won over 90% of electoral votes, most recently Ronald Reagan in 1984, when he won 97.6% of electoral votes.
Polls are becoming increasingly less accurate with betting markets now regarded as a more accurate predictor. Polling has become less accurate as it has become more democratic with technology reducing the barriers to entry. Methodology is critical in the accuracy of a poll and is increasingly differing among polls.
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