Elections in the United States

political signs


by Linda Khan

You can tell by the signs that it is election time in these United States of America.  Election Day is tomorrow, Tuesday, November 4, 2014.

Election Day in the United States is the day set by law for the election of public officials.  Federal law requires that it be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. However, States are required by law to allow citizens to vote at least eight days before that date (known as early voting). Polls are open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.

The elections tomorrow are what are called mid-term elections. These are general elections that are held two years after the Presidential elections.  Terms for those elected begin in January the following year.  Offices that are up for election during mid-terms are:

Federal Offices:

  • All 435 members of the United States House of Representatives for two-year terms. House members represent congressional districts. Each state has at least one congressional district.
  • One-third of the 100-member Senate for six-year terms.  Each State has two senators in the Senate.

State Offices:

  • 34 governors of the 50 States for four-year terms.
  • State senators and representatives and other public officials are also elected.

Local Offices: mayors, county officers, and county and circuit judges for two-year terms.

Elections in the United States occur in every even-numbered year. Elections for the President and Vice President are held every four years, in years divisible by four.  With the exception of the candidate for the vice-presidency, who is chosen by the candidate for the presidency, in order to represent a political party officially, a candidate must be nominated by members of that party.

There are many political parties in the United States. The most powerful are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.  Some people are not affiliated with any political party and are called Independents or NPAs (No Party Affiliation).

To be eligible to vote, you must be at least 18 years of age, a citizen of the United States of America, and a legal resident of the state and county where you intend to vote.  You must also be registered to vote.

Registered voters in Brevard County: Republicans: 158,233; Democrats: 126,141; NPAs: 81,953

For more information on United States elections and electoral process, please visit the following sites:

Ben’s guide to U. S. Government

League of Women Voters in California

USA Elections in Brief –US Department of State (pdf)

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