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A collection pictures capturing key moments from the US Election 2020

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US Elections Explained

All you need to know about the US presidential election process

US Elections Explained


What types of elections are held in the United States?

TThere are two basic types of elections in the US – primary and general. A primary election is a nominating contest in which candidates, who will run in the general election, are chosen. Winning the primaries usually results in the candidate being nominated by a political party for the general election.

A general election is a contest held to choose among candidates nominated in a primary (or by convention, caucus or petition) for federal, state and/or local office. This election is meant to make a final choice among a number of candidates nominated by their parties or those running as independents. A proposed legislation, referendums, bond issues and other mandates on government can also be placed on the ballot simultaneously.

What are mid-term elections?

People can elect their representatives and other sub-national officeholders such as governors, members of local council in the middle of the term of the executive. Generally, this term is used to describe polls for governmental bodies that are staggered. Only a fraction of a body's seats would be up for election at any given point in time.

What is Convention?

A presidential nominating convention is a political event held every four years by political parties in the United States. The main purpose of the event is to formally elect the party's presidential nominee for the main election. These gatherings are also used to adopt a statement of party principles.

What is Caucus?

A caucus refers to a meeting of supporters of a political party who gather to elect delegates to will choose a candidate for a given election. These meetings are organised by political parties.

Who Can Vote?

Any citizen of the United States who is 18 years old on or before Election Day and meets their home state’s residency requirements, can vote. However, they need to be registered to vote before their state’s voter registration deadline, except for North Dakota which does not require voter registration.

What are important dates?

The first presidential debate will be held on September 29, 2020. This would be followed by the vice-presidential debate on October 7 and the second presidential debate on and October 15. The final presidential debate is scheduled for October 22, before the November 3 election day. The presidential election is scheduled for January 21, 2021.

What is an electoral college?

In the United States, the Electoral College is a body of electors established by the Constitution. This group is formed every four years for electing the president and vice president. The panel consists of 538 electors. Each state legislature determines the manner by which they want to choose their electors. States require electors to pledge to vote for that state's winner. Most states have adopted laws to enforce the elector's pledge. A candidate needs at least 270 electoral votes to win the election.

Key Dates

    • September 29, 2020

      First Presidential Debate

    • October 22, 2020

      Third Presidential Debate

    • October 7, 2020

      Vice-Presidential Debate

    • November 3, 2020

      Election Day

    • October 15, 2020

      Second Presidential Debate

January 20, 2021

The presidential inauguration


Trump, Biden's first presidential debate at a glance

US Elections 2020

Trump, Biden's first presidential debate at a glance