July 1, 2013

How Elections Work In The United States

The United States of America has what is widely known as a Federal system of government with a number of national, state and local candidates being elected in all these levels. On a national scale, the head of state, or the President is also elected by the public through an indirect process. In today’s day and age, electors typically win the vote by garnering the support of their respective states to become the most popular candidate of their state. All members of the federal legislature are in fact, elected directly. The remainder of this article will be focusing on how Elections Work in the United States, and how one as a voting individual will can go about doing this process.

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At the state level, there exists, in fact, a large number of elected offices, and each state has an the minimum one elective governor as well as a legislature. Such elections are also carried out in smaller scales such as at the local, country and city levels. It has been estimated that approximately one million offices and filled across the country for every electoral cycle that takes place.

These elections are typically regulated by both the federal as well as the state laws. To a certain extent, the United States Constitution is able to dictate how most federal election are held as stated in Articles One and Two as well as in various other amendments.

The state laws in effect regulates a large majority of the electoral systems which includes the usage of primaries, the eligibility of various votes to actually participate in the voting process and well as the running of each state’s electoral colleges along with its state and local elections.

The main method of voting takes place in such a way that the candidate with the highest poll results is finally elected for representation. In the unique case of the Presidential Elections, the highest polling party will earn the right to elect a hundred percent of the quantity of positions allocated to that particular state. In fact, the numbers of seats that are allocated is often disproportional to the number of overall voters as there is no legislative requirement that states that successful candidates need to acquire a minimum of fifty percent of the vote.

To begin to vote in the United States, an individual regardless of his race, religion or ethnic background has to be at least eighteen years of age in order to earn the right to vote. Furthermore convicted criminals or people convicted to felony charges are also prohibited from voting for a certain period of time or indefinitely. This rule is often altered based on the various needs of the states themselves.

Before beginning to vote, citizens would have to be registered first. In an attempt to increase the turnout rate, the voting process is made easier by requiring state governments to collect certain types of funding to make voting easier by providing uniformed registration services though various centers such as driver’s license registration areas, disability centers, libraries, schools and via in-mail registration.

Voting in the United states is often an exciting but yet important task and as such should be taken seriously. By understanding how Elections Work in the United States and reading up on the various candidates, one will be able to make better overall choices.

Additional resource links: http://www.america.gov/publications/books/elections-in-brief.html

Voting Guide: How To Cast Your Vote, Participate In Government And Have Your Voice Heard

Voting, as is practiced today, in the United States has a long and violent history. It is only by hard struggles that this act, as done by today’s standards, has evolved. Many people do not know that there is nothing in the original United States Constitution regarding the right to vote. So, at the beginning each state set their own standards unless off-set by federal laws.

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In the beginning, voting was closely guarded and only white men, who owned property, were allowed that privilege. An exception was four states that allowed freed slaves the privilege. Women, working men, Indians and any other race did not have that right.

The Civil War found white men with permission to vote, whether or not they owned property, however, poll taxes, religious tests and literacy tests were common in many places, which barred many from that possibility. Others still could not vote. In 1866, the US Constitution granted freedom to the slaves and in 1869, the 15th Amendment gave them the election rights. Women were still denied this right.

There were many states that still denied a large number balloting rights by devious means of poll taxes, threats, literacy tests and other means. It was the 19th Amendment, in 1920, that finally allowed women the right to vote. The Native Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans were still struggling to obtain their rights. For example, all Mexican Americans did not receive the right to vote until 1975.

The Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 banned literacy tests and enacted federal enforcement of balloting registration. Many Americans who could not speak English fluently still had problems understanding balloting. The Voting Rights Act of 1970 provided language assistance for these people. In 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed to require states to provide facilities for people with disabilities so they could enter the polling place to vote.

Today there are still problems going on, in various states regarding balloting. The famous 2004 Presidential election, with Florida’s vote challenged, is one example. When there was a dispute over the vote result, the courts stopped a re-count of the ballots. Following the election, news bureaus recounted the ballots and found that the person who was put in office, as President, did not really win the election.

There are many challenges today regarding balloting. Accusations of alleged felons (who have no election rights) being on the voter rolls, electronic machines that malfunction, minority districts being denied enough electronic machines and other issues still prevail. The person who casts a vote today often has no idea of the struggles that ensued, over the years, to give them this privilege. Unbelievably, there are still eligible voters in the United States who do not register or vote in the election of public officials or on issues such as increasing taxes and changing existing laws.

It is only by balloting that things can be changed and it is a simple matter of registering to vote, which can be done any time of the year at many public offices. Today, a person does not even have to leave home to vote but can have a mail-in ballot. Whenever there is a vote it affects everyone’s life in one way or another. Public officials are elected to speak for the people they represent and need votes to be put in office. Voting is a way for a person to have their voice, on many issues, heard.

Find out more, visit: http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Voting.shtml