All you need to know about the American elections

It is November 3, another day for the Americans to elect their president, vice president, governors and congressmen. However, the American elections are among the most complicated ,and I will do the breakdown here so that in can be understood in the simplest ways possible. Our main concentration will be on the Presidential elections.

Unlike many countries, America has three means of voting, that is; the in person voting where people line up in the polling stations to cast their votes (generally this is the most popular world over), the absentee voting and the mail voting. Due to the challenging times brought by coronavirus, which limits gatherings , the elections have been extremely different for this year. It is interesting to note that voting has been going on where ballots have been supplied to voters and around 80 million people have already voted, mostly through mail and absentee voting. Lines have also been witnessed in various polling station in practice of early voting. This then means November 3 is only going to be but a deadline of voting but not the traditional voting day. All these has changed due to coronavirus, which calls for reduction of crowds that can are witnessed on a one day voting schedule.

The US elections use the electoral college votes system to determine who wins the presidential elections. The constitution of America puts great emphasis on checks and balances on power , thus helping to retain the independence of the executive. The electoral college system dates back to the independence of America from the British mornachy. Being a new nation, the Americans wanted a unique way of electing their national leaders and they settled on the electoral college , which in itself is a blend of popular vote(one man one vote) and congress( parliamentary) vote. Essentially , while they wanted the president to be elected by the people, they also wanted to have the input of the Congress( parliament) in that decision, just as their colonial masters practised it. This then birthed the electoral college votes. It is important to note that the popularity of the electoral college voting system has continued to wane.

The candidate with the highest votes in a state win the electoral college votes of that state ( with exception of Maine and Nebraska, which uses district to district allocation).

The number if electoral college votes allocated to each state is calculated by adding the number of senators, ( each state has two senators) plus the number of Delegates to the House of Representatives, which different states have different numbers. For example, Massachusetts has 11 electoral college votes, because it has two senators and 9 Delegates to the House of Representatives.

In total, there are 538 electoral college votes. To become president, a candidate must ganner absolute majority or at least 270 votes. If no candidate wins the majority votes, the House of Representatives picks the winner, just like the 1800 and the 1824 elections. Five presidents, including the incumbent Donald Trump failed to win the popular votes.

It is a fact that the American elections usually invite a lot of interests throughout the world than any other elections. Some of the reasons for this is that America is known as the cradle of Democracy. During its formation, the founders of America believed that theirs is a Republic found on a set of beliefs that all men are created equal, and these men have fundamental rights and due process of law, hence a right to legitimate government, decided by the majority.

The Complex relationship of America to other countries also make their elections the biggest watch, because any occupant of the Oval office usually has so much powers on how the America will relate with and to the rest of the world. And the latest cause of concern is the Trump’s punitive policies on immigrats. With the majority people on Earth still harbouring the American dream , they hope that at least Trump will loosen his hard stance on immigration in case he wins , or he loses all together and former vice president Joe Biden , who has shown some fondness to the immigrants wins.

May the best candidate win!


By Lincoln Oyugi

Just as Isaac Newton died a virgin, I'll die a writer!


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