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Overview of US Presidential election 2020

Overview of US Presidential election 2020
Written by Guest Author

Be it Donald Trump or Joe Biden in hours from now on Tuesday, the Americans would be choosing their oldest head of state ever.

Ronald Reagan was 73 when he won re-election in 1988, finishing out his term at age 77.

Previous to Reagan, America’s only 70-year-old president was Dwight Eisenhower, who closed out his second term in January 1961 at age 70.

Trump is now 74, and if elected, he would be 78 at the end of a second term in January 2025.

Biden is 77. With a birthday falling on November 20, Biden would be 82 at the end of a four-year term, if he wins keys to the Oval Office.

According to the US media,” Barack Obama was 55, George W. Bush 62, Bill Clinton 54 and George H.W. Bush 62 at the end of their terms.

US Presidential elections are always held on Tuesday since 1845

Since 1845, the American Presidential elections are always held on the first Tuesday after November 1.

A November 6, 2012 CNN report states: “The presidential election day was established on a Tuesday in November because of the factors involved (weather, harvests and worship). When voters used to travel to the polls by horse, Tuesday was an ideal day because it allowed people to worship on Sunday, ride to their country seat on Monday, and vote on Tuesday—all before market day, Wednesday. November also fits nicely between harvest time and harsh winter weather, which could be especially bad to people traveling by horse or buggy.”

Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the U.S Constitution has only three requirements for a president. (1) Must be at least 35 years old, (2) have lived in the US for at least 14 years, and (3) be a natural-born citizen.

The US Presidential election system

When Americans vote for President and Vice President of the US, they are actually voting for presidential electors in the Electoral College. According to the Constitution, each state is assigned a number of electors equal to the combined total of the state’s Senate and House of Representatives delegations. Today, there are 538 electors. The number of electors per state ranges from three (District of Columbia) to 55 (California). To be elected President of the United States, a candidate needs a majority of 270 electoral votes.


Many independent electoral and political pundits have often asserted that the US presidential election process is controversial. The critics argue the process is inherently undemocratic, and discourages voter participation and turnout in many areas of the country.

George Bush Junior versus Al Gore in 2000

In 2000, the race between Republican candidate George W Bush and Democratic candidate Al Gore was so close that it came down to the result in Florida, where just a few hundred votes separated them. There were weeks of legal battles, which triggered a recount, but eventually the Supreme Court stepped in and Bush was declared the winner, giving him all 25 of Florida’s electoral college votes and leaving him with a winning total of 271 overall. Mr Gore, who won more votes nationally than Mr Bush, conceded defeat.

Trump versus Hillary in 2016

Each state gets a certain number of electoral college votes partly based on its population and there are a total of 538 up for grabs, so the winner is the candidate that wins 270 or more.

This means voters decide state-level contests rather than the national one, which is why it’s possible for a candidate to win the most votes nationally — like Hillary Clinton did in 2016 — but still be defeated by the electoral college.

Hillary Clinton was Donald Trump’s opponent in 2016. She ended up winning nearly three million more votes than Mr Trump, mainly because she picked up a high number of votes in strong Democrat states like New York and California. However, her rival comfortably beat her in the electoral college race 304 to 227 because he won several tight contests in key states.

Trump versus Biden in 2020

Both these Presidential candidates are in their 70s -Trump would be 74 years old at the start of his second term, while at 78, Mr Biden would be the oldest first-term president in history.

Although of the attention will be on Trump versus Biden, voters will also be choosing new members of Congress when they fill in their ballots.

The US political system is dominated by just two parties, so the president always belongs to one of them.

Who can vote and the turnout

Any US citizen aged 18 or above is eligible to vote in the presidential election every four years. In 2016, about 245 million people were eligible to vote, but fewer than 140 million people actually did. According to the US Census Bureau, the majority of people who didn’t register to vote said they just weren’t interested in politics. Those who registered but didn’t actually vote said they didn’t like the candidates.

There are two ways to vote in the US — by going to a polling station on election day or by using a postal ballot — but the rules vary depending on which state you are in. All states offer some form of voting by post, but many require voters to provide a reason for not being able to vote in person on election day. Some states are accepting the coronavirus as a valid reason to use a postal ballot.

The new president is officially sworn into office on 20 January in a ceremony known as the inauguration, which is held on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington DC.

Some of the perks of a US President

Some of the perks of a US President

Source: Daily The News

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