A Guide to the 2020 Presidential Election for Exchange Visitors

Filed in American Culture by on September 19, 2019 0 Comments

If you’re in the United States for your exchange program right now, you’ve chosen an exciting time to be here—during the 2020 presidential election season.

But our election process can be complicated to understand—even for many Americans who experience it every four years. As the election season gets into full swing, it will be helpful to understand some of the basics.

This guide will help you follow along during the 2020 presidential election season.

Important Election Dates

On March 3, 2020, many Americans will go to the polls to cast their ballot in the primary election. This first round of voting (known as Super Tuesday) is used to determine a political party’s nominee for the upcoming general election. While most people will vote on this day, other primaries fall before and after March 3.

Each party’s nominee will be officially confirmed in the summer of 2020 during the Democratic or Republican National Convention. These conventions are multi-day events where each party confirms their nominees for president and vice president, announces a comprehensive party platform, and tries to unify the party behind their nominee.

The Democratic National Convention is expected to take place July 13–16, 2020. The Republican National Convention is scheduled for August 24–27, 2020.

Most voters cast their ballot for the general election on November 3, 2020. This is the biggest day of the election season.

Popular Vote and the Electoral College

The general election consists of the popular vote and the Electoral College process.

The popular vote reflects each voter’s choice for president. The candidate who receives the greatest number of votes nationwide is considered the winner of the popular vote.

In many types of elections, the winner is decided by the popular vote. But in the presidential election, the president is technically elected by “electors” via the Electoral College process.

After voters cast their ballot, their votes go to a statewide tally. Each state has a particular number of electors, with 538 nationwide. Generally, whoever has won the popular vote in a state receives all the electoral votes for that state.

A candidate needs 270 electoral votes—more than half of the total—to win the election. The “race to 270” is usually called in the late hours of election night.

Who Is Running for President?

As the incumbent, President Trump will presumably be the Republican nominee.

The Democratic field is changing quickly as the election approaches. Here is who’s currently running for the Democratic Party nomination.

Will you be following the 2020 election? Tell us in the comments below!