The United States holds an election every four years to elect its president. The next vote will take place in November 2020.
This year, Donald Trump meets Joe Biden, who promises to be a highly competitive competition.
This is all you need to know about the 2020 US election, including when it will take place, how the voting works, and when we will find out the result.
When is the 2020 US election?
The US general election always takes place on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. In 2020 this will be Tuesday, November 3rd.
The US elections will take place on a Tuesday as the US had a largely dispersed rural population in the 18th century when the general election began. Since Sunday was for church and driving to the polling station could take a full day, Monday was reserved for travel and Tuesday was the day of voting.
November was chosen for a similar reason – as it is the quietest time of the year for an agricultural society.
Who can people vote for in the presidential election?
The US system is dominated by two parties.
People are voting for a “ticket” that includes a president and a vice-president representing either the left of the center Democrats or the right of the central republicans.
This year, Republican candidates are Donald Trump for President and Mike Pence for Vice President, and Democratic candidates Joe Biden for President and Kamala Harris for Vice President.
Donald Trump has been president for the past four years, while Joe Biden has been Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years.
Mr Trump would be 74 years old at the start of his next term, while Mr Biden would be 78 years old – the oldest president of all time.
How does voting work in US elections?
The US uses a system called an electoral college. So the winner of the presidential election is not always the person who gets the most votes.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton secured more votes, but Donald Trump won the election.
This is because each state has a set number of votes for the electoral college. So when people vote, they do so on a national rather than a national level.
For example, if most of the people in California vote for Trump, he will get 55 votes from that state’s electoral college.
If most of the people in Wyoming vote for Biden, he will get the three votes of that state’s electoral college.
When people vote in the US presidential election, they are actually voting not for a president, but for the state voters.
These voters then go to another vote in December and elect the president on behalf of the people.
To further complicate matters, 48 states have a “First Past The Post” system where whoever gets the most votes gets all of the voters. In Maine and Nebraska, this is closer to proportional representation.
How many voters each state gets depends on its population. More specifically, it’s based on the number of state representatives (based on the population) plus one voter for each senator. The number is determined by the census every 10 years.
Who is eligible to vote?
Every US citizen over 18 is eligible to vote.
However, some states require you to show ID to vote. Democrats say this is unfair as they are often disadvantaged or minority voters who do not have access to a driver’s license or passport.
In some states, prisoners are not allowed to vote.
Most people vote in person, but in 2016, 21 percent voted by mail.
Is the election just to elect a President and a Vice-President?
No. At the same time, people will vote for new members of Congress. The Congress consists of two chambers – the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The house is the lower tier of government while the Senate sits above it. In short, Congress debates and makes federal laws and oversees the office of President. The Senate was created to control and balance the powers of the representatives.
All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 33 seats in the Senate are up for election this year.
When do we find out who has won?
Generally, the winner is announced early in the morning after the vote – when it is clear who won – although it can take several days for each vote to be counted.
In 2016, Donald Trump gave his victory speech at 3 a.m. in New York. With so many absentee votes this year, the actual result could take days or weeks.
In 2000, the end result was not announced for a month.