How Elections in the United States Work

The United States has a long and storied history of democracy, and elections have been a critical part of that story. Today, elections in the United States are held at the federal, state, and local levels. Federal elections, held every four years, select the president and vice president. State elections, held every two years, elect…

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Primary Elections

Primary elections are used by political parties in the United States to select their candidates for public office. They are typically held before the general election to determine which individuals will represent each party on the ballot. There are two types of primary elections: closed and open. Only registered political party members can vote for…

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General Elections

General elections in the United States are held to select federal, state, and local officials. These elections are typically held on the first Tuesday of November in even-numbered years. The candidates who win the general election are elected to office. All eligible voters in a district or state can vote for candidates running for office…

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Runoff Elections

Some states require the winner to receive the majority of the votes (more than 50%) and not just a plurality (the most votes).  A runoff election is held when no candidate in a primary or general election receives a majority of the votes cast. The top two candidates who received the most votes proceed to…

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What is Ranked Choice Voting?

Ranked choice voting (RCV) is a method of voting in which voters rank candidates in order of preference. Instead of choosing just one candidate, voters can indicate which candidate is their first choice, second choice, third choice, and so on. Ranking allows voters to express a greater level of nuance in their preferences and can…

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