US election 2020: How the States vote for the Presidential elections

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Oct 15, 2020, 03:00 PM(IST)

US elections Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The elections, this year, are scheduled for November 03 and will see the US President Donald Trump and the Democratic candidate and the former Vice President Joe Biden fight for the White House


The elections for the post of the President of the United States are due in a few weeks, and the voting has already started in some states.

In the US, the Presidential elections take place every four years and the congressional elections are held every two years.

While the process of nominee selection for one of the most important positions of this world is quite similar to the rest of the developing and developed countries, what is different than the rest is the US’ voting process.

The electoral process involves the selection of candidates, registration of voters and casting the vote. 

Also read| US election 2020: How are votes counted in the presidential election?

Unlike other countries, some states in the US have the power to establish their own rules for voting. However, the reason the majority of the states follow the same rules is due to the various restrictions imposed by the federal agencies.

American voters, earlier, were supposed to be of the age of 21 and older. However, later the 26th Amendment to the Constitution changed the legal voting age to 18, and now therefore everyone who is 18-years-old and older is considered to be an adult and eligible to vote. Another very important condition for being an eligible voter is that the person should be a registered US citizen. Anybody who does not hold the US passport and is not a legally registered citizen is not allowed to cast vote, including any other visa holders such as study and work visa.

After being eligible to vote, a citizen has to register with the required authorities. In some states, people have to register through the mail — usually on forms available from the local registrar of voters — and in others, they can go meet the locally appointed officers to finish the process.

Also read| US election 2020: Republicans clash with California officials over ballot boxes

The registration rules, too, vary from state to state, some allowing citizens to register till a week before the election, while others closing it a few weeks ago.

Every state has different dates for voting, which is very different from the majority of the countries. All states, cities, counties, districts are divided into something labelled as ‘voting districts’, which are basically local precinct where people can go and cast their votes.

On the decided date(s) of the voting, the registered people can go and cast their vote either at the voting booths or drop their mail-in votes at the fixed drop-in points or mail it at the provided address.

Also read| US election 2020: Indian-Americans overwhelmingly support Joe Biden, new poll shows

When all states close voting, the counting of the votes begins, which includes the poll and the mail-in votes. The counting of the votes does not take a very long time. However, that was when majority of the voters were casting votes at the nearest voting booth. This year, however, due to the pandemic, a major increase is being anticipated in the mail-in votes, which can also down the vote-counting process, further leading to a delay in the announcement and swearing-in ceremony. 

A delay in the result announcement is something that even the current US President Donald Trump — who is rerunning for the post — has also warned the authorities again. Trump has claimed that the United States Postal Service is not capable of conducting operations on such a high level. However, he has often faced harsh criticism and wrath from his opponents and voters for the lack of trust he has shown in the USPS — often considered to be a pride of the US. 

Experts, and Trump, also believe that the increase in mail-in voting can also increase the manipulation of the voters and their casted votes.

The elections, this year, are scheduled for November 03 and will see the US President Donald Trump and the Democratic candidate and the former Vice President Joe Biden fight for the White House. 

This year, on December 14, the members of the Electoral College will cast their ballots for president. As per the system, the winner of the each state’s popular vote will earn that state’s electoral votes, which are apportioned by population. The candidate who receives a majority of either 583 (or 270) will inch closer to the finish line. 

Then on January 06, 2021, the Congress will meet past noon in Washington to count the electoral votes and declare a winner who will be sworn in for the position along with his running mate at the US Capitol in Washington on January 20.

Read in App