The United States of America’s 2020 presidential election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 3, 2020 and the whole world is highly expectant as well as anxious to know who would emerge the president of the world’s most powerful country.
It will be the 59th quadrennial presidential election. Voters will select presidential electors who in turn will vote on December 14, 2020, to either elect a new president and vice president or reelect the incumbents Donald Trump and Mike Pence respectively.
As the series of presidential primary elections and caucuses were held from February to August 2020, it will be imperative to give an insightful analysis of the due process required before the winner of the presidency election is declared.
Unlike in many other countries, the US president and vice president are not directly elected by citizens. Instead, they are chosen by “electors” through an “Electoral College”. In this system, it is possible for a candidate to win the popular vote and still lose out on the presidency.
Contrary to popular belief, American voters do not actually elect their president. When citizens go to polls, they just vote for “electors”. These electors then go on to choose between presidential candidates.
There are five main steps to electing a USA President:
- Primaries and Caucuses
- National Conventions
- Election Campaigning
- General Election
- Electoral College
Forty-eight states, plus the District of Columbia, have a winner-takes-all approach to their Electoral College votes. This means that on election day whoever between Joe Biden and Donald Trump wins the popular vote by even a single vote, wins all of the sate’s electoral votes.
It therefore does not matter by how many votes the candidates win in each state, as long as they win more than the next person.
In the US Election process, voters merely indicate a preference, but the task of actually electing the president falls to these 538 individual electors to the US Electoral College.
It is possible for candidates to be the most popular candidate among voters and still fail to win enough states to gain majority electoral votes.
In practice, electors almost always vote for the candidate who wins the popular vote.
If an elector votes against their state’s presidential pick, they become “faithless”. This happened in the 2016 race when seven electoral college votes were cast this way, but the results weren’t affected by the faithless electors.
In 2016, Donald Trump had almost three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, but won the presidency because the electoral college gave him a majority.
This year, Election Day falls on November 3. Members of the electoral college will then formally meet and vote on December 14, and their votes will be counted, and the winner announced on January 6, 2021.