America Votes Today
We all have knowledge of the huge influence The President of the United States (US) has on lives of people, both in the US and overseas, As such the outcome of presidential elections being held today, will matter not only to Americans but also the global community as a whole.
The US practices a two-party political system, the Republicans and the Democrats, for which any US President always belong to either of them.Aside from the presidential poll today, all the 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for election, with the 33 Senate seats as well.
The Republicans are the conservative political party in the US and their candidate in this year’s election is President Donald Trump, who is hoping to secure another term in power.
The Republican Party is also known as the GOP, or the Grand Old Party. In recent years, it has stood for lower taxes, gun rights and tighter restrictions on immigration, with support for the party tending to be stronger in more rural parts of America where former Republican Presidents, including George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, came from.
The Democrats are the liberal political party and their candidate is Joe Biden, an experienced politician best-known for serving as Barrack Obama’s Vice-President for eight years.
Both men are in their 70s — Mr Trump will be 74 at the start of his second term if he wins, while, at 78, Mr Biden will be the oldest first-term President in the history of the US
Electoral college votes
Each State gets a certain number of electoral college votes partly based on its population and there are 538 votes up for grabs, so the winner is the candidate who wins 270 or more of the votes.
This means that voters will decide state-level contests rather than the national one, which is why it’s possible for a candidate to win the most votes nationally — like Hillary Clinton did in 2016 — but still be defeated by the electoral college.
All but two states have a winner-takes-all rule, so whichever candidate wins the highest number of votes is awarded all of the state’s electoral college votes.
Most states lean heavily towards one party or the other, so the focus is usually on a dozen or so states where either of them could win. These are known as the battleground states. Florida is one of the seven electoral battleground states where the results will probably decide the election, and with its 29 electoral votes, it could decide who wins the Presidency. In every election since 1964, the presidential candidate who has won Florida has also won the White House.
Eligible to vote
If you’re a US citizen and you’re 18 or over, you should be eligible to vote in the presidential election, which takes place every four years.
However, a lot of states have passed laws requiring voters to show identification documents to prove who they are before they can vote.
These laws are often put into place by the Republicans, who say the documents are needed to guard against voter fraud.
But the Democrats accuse them of using this as a form of voter suppression, as it is often poorer, minority voters who are unable to provide IDs such as a driving license.
How people vote is a contentious issue this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some politicians are calling for a wider use of postal ballots, but President Trump has said — with very little evidence — that this could result in more voter fraud.
Control of the house
Today, all attention will be on Trump and Biden, but voters will also be choosing new members of Congress when they fill in their ballots.
The Democrats already have control of the House, so they will be looking to keep hold of that, while also gaining control of the Senate, and if they have a majority in both chambers, they will be able to block or delay President Trump’s plans if he is re-elected.
Counting of votes
It can take several days for every vote to be counted, but it’s usually pretty clear who the winner is by the early hours of the following morning.
In 2016, Trump took to the stage in New York about 3 a.m. to give his victory speech in front of a crowd of jubilant supporters.
But officials are already warning that it may have to wait longer — possibly days, even weeks — for the result this year because of the expected surge in postal ballots.
The last time the result wasn’t clear within a few hours was in 2000, when the winner wasn’t confirmed until a Supreme Court ruling was made a month later.
If Biden wins the election, he wouldn’t immediately replace President Trump, as there is a set transition period to give the new leader time to appoint cabinet ministers and make plans.
Early voting is where people are allowed to cast their votes before the scheduled election day, November 3, and this could be either in-person at early voting stations, or absentee — that is, by post — and this has steadily increased with each election year.
According to the US Elections Project, as of November 2, 2020 more than 94 million Americans had voted early — either by post or in person. This is already more than the total number of about 57.2 million early votes cast in the 2016 election.
The New President
The New President is officially sworn into office on January 20, in a ceremony known as the inauguration, which is held on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington, DC, and after the ceremony, the new President makes his way to the White House to begin his four-year term in office.