Everything You Need to Know About Elections
Elections provide people the opportunity to vote, and voting is a method of decision making that allows people to express their opinion or preference for a candidate or for a proposed resolution of an issue. The way people express their opinion or preference is through a vote, which is also known as a ballot, and in the United States, people cast their vote through a secret ballot, meaning that other people don’t know who they’re voting for.
Then, people can vote through absentee ballot. If the person is going to be out of town during the election or they’re physically not able to get to a polling location, then they can oftentimes submit their ballot through mail. Some states allow you to do straight-ticket voting, which is where, by just selecting one button, a person can vote for all members of a certain party.
Then there’s also write-in ballots, which means sometimes people are allowed to write in the name of someone they want to vote for that’s not actually on the ballot. To be eligible to vote in the US, you have to first be a US citizen, and you have to be at least 18 years of age.
The 15th and 19th amendments of the United States Constitution stipulate that the right to vote cannot be denied to any US citizen, based on race or sex, so the 15th Amendment protects people’s right to vote based on race, and the 19th Amendment protects people’s right to vote based on their sex.
Now there’s several different types of elections. There are federal elections, state elections, and local elections. Federal elections take place every 2 years, and there’s two types of federal elections. There are presidential elections and midterm elections. A presidential election takes place, and then 2 years later a midterm election takes place, then 2 years later a presidential election takes place.
While federal elections are taking place every 2 years, presidential elections only happen every 4 years and midterm elections only happen every 4 years. In a presidential election, voters get to vote for president, the Senate, and the House. The president is elected indirectly through the Electoral College. However, voters vote directly for the Senate and the House.
Now in midterm elections, people still vote for members of the Senate and members of the House but notice what’s missing is they don’t vote for the president in midterm elections. Then there are state elections. In state elections, voters get to vote for their governor, their lieutenant governor, as well a state senators and state representatives.
Now in some states some other elected positions are the attorney general, the secretary of state, and the state supreme court members. Then there’s local elections, which is made up of elections for county and city governments. The positions that are on the ballot in local elections are positions like sheriffs, school board members, and city mayors. Where do we get the process of these elections?
Well, federal elections are mandated and set up by the first two articles of the Constitution, as well as various amendments to the Constitution. Then state elections are regulated by state laws and constitutions. Now, even though I listed here three different types of elections, many times these happen at the same time.
In other words, during a midterm election people don’t just go to vote for the Senate and the House, generally there’s going to be state positions on the ballot as well, so someone could go to a polling location, they could vote for senators, they could vote for one position of the House of Representatives, their governor, lieutenant governor, state senators, and state reps, as well as other state-wide elected officials, and then they may also be able to vote for county offices. Then many times city elections take place at a separate time, but really these elections are bundled together, that way people don’t have to constantly go and vote for all these different types of positions. That’s a brief look at the election process.