The United States, as the world's largest economic and military power, attracts international attention in its presidential elections every four years. As an eligible voter, please do not waste your precious vote, and please go vote on Nov. 3!!
You may have millions of questions on how the United States conducts elections, so here is a set of six basic questions and answers to help you submit your vote.
- When is election day?
The US election day always takes place on the first Tuesday of November. So, this year’s election day is on Nov. 3.
- Who are the major candidates?
he United States is a basic bipartisan political structure with two dominant political parties: Democrats and Republicans. The Republican Party is the comparatively more conservative political party, and their candidate for reelection is the current President Donald Trump. The Democratic Party is a more liberal political party, their 2020 presidential candidate is Joe Biden, who served as vice president from 2009-2016.
- Who can vote?
To vote in Minnesota, you must be 18 years old by election day, a U.S. citizen, and have lived in Minnesota for at least 20 days. If you have been convicted of a felony, you are eligible to vote if you have completed your sentence, including probation, parole or supervised release. Register at mnvotes.org.
- How to vote?
- MAIL-IN VOTERS: Absentee ballots must be received on or before Nov. 3. DO NOT RETURN YOUR BALLOT BY MAIL. For info on how to drop off your ballot in-person, track your mailed-in ballot, visit http://MNVotes.org.
- VOTE EARLY IN PERSON: Early voting began Sept. 18 and runs through Monday, Nov. 2. You can vote in person at your county elections office. Wear a mask and practice safe social distancing!
- VOTE ON ELECTION DAY IN PERSON: As long as you are in line by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3, you can vote. In Minnesota, you have a right to take time off work to vote without losing pay. Visit pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us to find out where to vote in person on Election Day.
- What is the Electoral College?
The American presidential election adopts the “electoral college” system. The President of the United States is not directly elected by the general public (the popular vote), but by the electoral college of each state based on the state’s population. A state with a larger population has more electoral votes; for example, Minnesota has 10 electoral votes, whereas Florida has 29, and California has the most — 55 electoral votes.
There is a total of 538 electoral votes. In order to win the general election, a presidential candidate must obtain at least 270 electoral votes. The candidate with the most votes from the public sometimes may not necessarily win the general election; for example, in 2016, although Hillary Clinton received more public votes than Trump, Trump was still elected as he had 304 votes from the Electoral College.
- Does anyone inspect the ballots?
Yes, whether it is by vote at the polling station on election day or vote by mail, there is heavy verification of votes. The reason that counting mail-in votes is so much more time-consuming is because each ballot must be verified with the voter's signature, and it must match the signature on the voter's registration card. Owing to COVID-19, the numbers of mail-in ballots are expected to be more than double of “normal” elections, so checking the signature alone will increase counting time. This year’s election result may not come out soon because the supervision of the counting process is stricter than in previous elections. Also, some states have up to nine days after election day to finish counting their ballots.
No matter who you vote for, please exercise your right as a US citizen. Please remember:
- Talk to others in your life who are eligible voters and encourage them to vote.
- Share this article with neighbors, family and friends.
- Volunteer with a campaign or organization to register, educate and turn out voters.