Administering Elections: How American Elections Work

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Does your vote count? The Electoral College explained - Christina Greer

A large number of " groups " were active for the first time in the election. These groups receive donations from individuals and groups and then spend the money on issue advocacy, such as the anti-Kerry ads by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. This is a new form of soft money, and not surprisingly it is controversial.


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Many groups have close links with the Democratic or Republican parties, even though legally they cannot coordinate their activities with them. Changing campaign finance laws is a highly controversial issue. Some reformers wish to see laws changed in order to improve electoral competition and political equality. Opponents wish to see the system stay as it is, whereas other reformers wish even fewer restrictions on the freedom to spend and contribute money. The Supreme Court has made it increasingly difficult for those who wish to regulate election financing, but options like partial public funding of campaigns are still possible and offer the potential to address reformers' concerns with minimal restrictions on the freedom to contribute.

In partisan elections, candidates are chosen by primary elections abbreviated to "primaries" and caucuses in the states , the District of Columbia , Puerto Rico , American Samoa , Guam , and the U. Virgin Islands. A primary election is an election in which registered voters in a jurisdiction nominating primary select a political party 's candidate for a later election. There are various types of primary: either the whole electorate is eligible, and voters choose one party's primary at the polling booth an open primary ; or only independent voters can choose a party's primary at the polling booth a semi-closed primary ; or only registered members of the party are allowed to vote closed primary.

The blanket primary , when voters could vote for all parties' primaries on the same ballot was struck down by the United States Supreme Court as violating the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of assembly in the case California Democratic Party v. Primaries are also used to select candidates at the state level, for example in gubernatorial elections. Caucuses also nominate candidates by election, but they are very different from primaries.

Caucuses are meetings that occur at precincts and involve discussion of each party's platform and issues such as voter turnout in addition to voting.

The primary and caucus season in presidential elections lasts from the Iowa caucus in January to the last primaries in June. Front-loading - when larger numbers of contests take place in the opening weeks of the season—can have an effect on the nomination process, potentially reducing the number of realistic candidates, as fund-raisers and donors quickly abandon those they see as untenable. However, it is not the case that the successful candidate is always the candidate that does the best in the early primaries.

There is also a period dubbed the "invisible primary" that takes place before the primary season, when candidates attempt to solicit media coverage and funding well before the real primary season begins. A state's presidential primary election or caucus usually is an indirect election: instead of voters directly selecting a particular person running for president, it determines how many delegates each party's national political convention will receive from their respective state.

These delegates then in turn select their party's presidential nominee. Held in the summer, a political convention's purpose is also to adopt a statement of the party's principles and goals known as the platform and adopt the rules for the party's activities. The day on which primaries are held for congressional seats, and state and local offices may also vary between states.

The only federally mandated day for elections is Election Day for the general elections of the president and Congress; all other elections are at the discretion of the individual state and local governments. In most states of the U. In some states, local officials like a county registrar of voters or supervisor of elections manages the conduct of elections under the supervision of or in coordination with the chief election officer of the state. Many of these state and county offices have web sites that provide information to help voters obtain information on their polling places for each election, the various districts to which they belong e.

Some allow voters to download a sample ballot in advance of the election. More systematic coverage is provided by web sites devoted specifically to collecting election information and making it available to the public. Two of the better known such sites are Ballotpedia and Vote Smart.

These are run by non-profit, non-partisan organizations.

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They have paid staffs and are much more tightly controlled than Wikipedia. The website towin provides actual electoral college maps both current and historic but also the ability to use an interactive map in order to make election predictions. Ongoing election news is reported as well as data on Senate and House races. The Center for Responsive Politics opensecrets.

In scientists from Princeton University did a study on the influence of the "elite", and their derived power from special interest lobbying, versus the "ordinary" US citizen within the US political system.

All Elections Are Local: The County Role in the Elections Process | NACo

They found that the US was looking more like an oligarchy than a real representative democracy; thus eroding a government of the people, by the people, for the people as stated by Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address. In fact, the study found that average citizens had an almost nonexistent influence on public policies and that the ordinary citizen had little or no independent influence on policy at all.

There were many US presidential elections in which foreign countries manipulate the voters. Allegations of voter impersonation , of which there are only 31 documented cases in the United States from the — period, have lead to calls for Voter ID laws in the United States. Notable instances of allegations of stolen elections and election fraud include the United States Senate election in Texas , in which "patently fraudulent" [31] : ballots gave future President Lyndon Johnson a seat in the US Senate and the North Carolina 9th congressional district election in which ballot tampering was admitted in witness testimony, including filling in blank votes to favor Republican candidates.

Elections & Voting

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Federal Government. Constitution of the United States Law Taxation. Presidential elections Midterm elections Off-year elections. Political parties. Democratic Republican Third parties Libertarian Green. Other countries Atlas. First past the post FPTP.

Two-round system TRS. Instant-runoff voting IRV. Louisiana primary.

Nonpartisan blanket primary. Main article: Voting rights in the United States. Main article: Voter registration in the United States. Further information: Voting machine. See also: Election Day United States. United States presidential elections. West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming. Brokered convention Convention bounce Superdelegate.

Results Summary Elections in which the winner lost the popular vote Electoral College margins Electoral College results by state Electoral vote changes between elections Electoral vote recipients Popular vote margins Contingent election Faithless elector Unpledged elector Voter turnout. Campaign slogans Historical election polling Election Day Major party tickets Major party losers Presidential debates October surprise Red states and blue states Swing state Election recount Vice presidential confirmations: House elections Senate elections Gubernatorial elections.

United States Senate elections. Special elections Election disputes Results by state List of elections in the United States House elections Presidential elections Gubernatorial elections. United States House of Representatives elections. Senate elections Presidential elections Gubernatorial elections. United States gubernatorial elections.

List of current Governors. House elections Senate elections Presidential elections. The Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico instead serves a four-year term that coincides with the presidential term. The other 48 state governors and all five territorial governors serve four-year terms. Main articles: Party system and Politics of the United States.

Main article: Ballot access. Main article: Campaign finance in the United States. Main articles: Primary elections in the United States and Caucus.

Elections in the United States

Archived from the original on March 31, Retrieved May 19, April 2, Retrieved October 14, Party Politics. The Sentencing Project. Archived from the original PDF on July 31, Retrieved Delaware News-Journal.