N is for National Elections on November 6

If you’re not from the United States, you may not be aware of the fact that the US is having its national election on Tuesday, November 6.

CONGRESS

Approximately 1/3 of the US Senate is up for election. Senators are elected on a statewide basis for six-year terms.

All 435 members of the House of Representatives are up for election. The number of districts in each state is dependent on its population. The breakdown changes every 10 years, after the decennial Census. The results of the 2010 Census will alter the makeup of the House for the 2012 election. From the Census Bureau:
“Among the eight states gaining seats, Texas will gain four seats and Florida will gain two seats. The other six states (Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington) will each gain one seat.Of the ten states losing seats, two states, New York and Ohio, will each lose two seats. The other eight states (Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) will each lose one seat.”

Even the states that have the same number of seats will have to change its Congressional boundaries (except for the states with only one House member, of course), to reflect population shifts within the state, based on the doctrine of One person, one vote.

THE PRESIDENCY

The Democratic Party is fielding the incumbent, President Barack Obama of Illinois, with his running mate, Vice-President Joe Biden of Delaware. The Republican Party candidate is putting up former Massachusetts governor Willard Mitt Romney, with his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Since about the year 1800, the President and VP have run as a ticket. There are a number of “third party” candidates who have approximately a zero percent chance of winning the election.

The nomination process is rather peculiar for both major parties. Some states have what are called caucuses, while other states have primaries. But even the rules of primaries vary from state to state, with some having “closed” primaries (only members of that party can vote) while others have more “open” primaries, (voters who are not enrolled in either party may vote, and in a few states, voters from the OPPOSING party may participate!)

The Presidential election is not decided by the popular vote nationally, but rather by the vote in each state, which gets representatives to something called the Electoral College. Each state gets electors equal to its number of members of Congress (House plus Senate); the District of Columbia also gets three electors.

In 49 of 51 geographies, except for Maine and Nebraska, there are winner-take-all contests. Thus, some states are not generally contested by the candidates. New York, it is surmised, will go to Obama; Texas is safe for Romney. Therefore, the race is generally run in the so-called battleground states.

As a New Yorker, I don’t see many of the Presidential campaign ads that run in states such as Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia. A good political map can be seen at Real Clear Politics.
***
Re: “the dozens of political tell-alls…that appear each election cycle.” The Center of Gravitas Best and Worst Seller List helps “you navigate which books would be likely to fly off the shelves and which would be reduced to the bargain bin.”

ABC Wednesday – Round 11

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29 thoughts on “N is for National Elections on November 6

  1. I am looking forward to this election being over so my phone will stop ringing off the hook from political calls. I always vote and I understand the need to encourage people to vote but the non stop calls get to be disruptive.

  2. Canadians watch your elections very carefully because they can affect our country as well, believe it or not. I watched the first presidential debate and even though the general opinion was that Romney “won,” I thought he looked and acted like a smirking … well, let’s just say I sure hope Obama gets back in!

    Leslie
    abcw team

  3. In my general area the republicans pulled a fast one and struck a deal with democrats much to my displeasure. They gerrymandered a new district north of the county (King) just north of Seattle all the way to the Canadian border. The problem is that it’s now made up of mostly rural conservative folks but does cut through many urban areas. Effectively taking away their urban power. I hear they did much the same in Texas to lock out the democrats.

  4. I’m glad I’m an American but I will be so happy when the election has come and gone.
    I’m with Carver, the phone calls and things stuffing my mailbox are overwhelming.
    I have voted but really don’t like the Electorial College. It makes me feel like my vote really doesn’t count.

  5. Oh, believe me, Canadians are only too aware that the US is having elections, as EG has already said. American elections tend to terrify me, especially when unstable warmonger Republicans are running. It always reminds me we share some 3000 miles of undefended border with a nation that thinks it knows best.
    Just sayin’…
    K

  6. Oh yes the US election is always well covered here in the UK. I liked the comment from someone who said they didn’t have any political preferences but always hoped the candidate least likely to blow the planet up gets elected.

  7. I have voted since John Anderson (figures, my first prez vote was a third-party candidate!) and have taken Riley into the booth with me since she was two months old. Never voted a straight ticket in my life; always research the referenda. Proudest achievement: Raising a daughter who votes and also researches her choices, because we’d sit from the time she was eight, perusing the League of Women Voters lit and talking over how I felt, encouraging her to ask questions.

    If Mitt Romney gets into the White House, it will mean that enough wackadoodles actually remembered the date and got off their asses. There is so much unvarnished racism in this election, including lynched chairs in front yards (a la the Clint Eastwood/empty chair debacle) and people wearing tshirts that say, “Put the WHITE back in the White House.” Honest to Pete, I really despair for the soul of our country.

    This was a great piece, especially for all your foreign readers. Peace, Amy

  8. I am afraid the whole world is aware of the US elections, hard to avoid ;-). Why are there are only 2 candidates- it seems only rich men are allowed to enter- what about the Occupy movement, the Greens, liberals, socialists, communists- ? It seems your media dictates who will run and they are always centre-right? Just interested 😉

    http://mancunianwave.blogspot.co.uk/

    • Chrissy – it is very difficult for the Libertarian Party or the Green Party to get on the ballot in many states. Even if they do, they are perceived as “spoilers” who might throw the election to an even less desirable candidate. See Ralph Nader, Green Party candidate in 2000, who may have taken enough votes away from Al Gore to give George W Bush Florida, and thus, the Presdidency. Unless there is Instant Runoff Voting, or something similar, this will not change. http://www.fairvote.org/

  9. Here in my country every day the American election is discussed and viewed from all angles. We all hope that the Democrats under the leadership of Obama will win. We are all afraid that the Repu blicans will start a war against Iran. Wars are useless and so expensive. And the loss of lives is the worst. As long as I live I have not experienced peace . There was always war. Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia( with the Dutch), Yugoslavia, wars in Africa, Afghanistan, etc.

  10. Remember how the Deputy PM of Australia said, “Let’s be blunt, the biggest threat to the world’s biggest economy are the cranks and crazies that have taken over parts of the [US] Republican Party,” No one outside the US disagreed with him. The comments above are even more evidence that the entire world is watching the US presidential elections with something close to horror.

  11. Difficult to miss the date, even when you live in Europe ! We all hope it will be Obama ! It’s a pity that you only have two big parties (from the others nobody has ever heard here) which makes it quiet difficult to vote the right person or party !

  12. An excellent summary. Interestingly there are a lot of ads run in DC. I don’t know why – we are as about democrat as it gets, both parties are wasting their money. Maybe it has something to do with the disproportionate amount of people who end up voting in their “home state”, and not in the District…

  13. I know this is serious stuff, but like some others, I will be so glad when it is over. The debates didn’t teach me anything I didn’t already know, tho’ I have to admit that Obama’s demeanor on the first debate was surprising, but I didn’t learn anything new. I do appreciate your very clear explanation. It was a good reminder for me, as one who did not go through any citizenship classes. But I do carefully read all materials delivered to my door.
    BTW you are right about the drought and lowering of water level in Lake Powell. My next (last) set of photos will show this more clearly.

  14. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the electoral college needs to go and popular vote should rule the land. Oh, and ballots should include everyone actually running for president. But I’ll quit griping now.

  15. While it’s a great tool – you don’t get a complete slampe ballot for your area – so in some ways you actually go to the polling place less informed (“I didn’t know there was a school board or water district race…”). In 6 states (CA, IL, MD, MN, OH & PA) only http://www.evoter.com gives voters not just their polling place, but a complete interactive ballot listing every single and ballot measure candidate that you will see on your ballot – and where candidates can post profiles and organizations can post their endorsements.

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