Did you know ...
The presidential election process begins more than a year before Election Day with statewide elections called primaries and caucuses. In this warm up to the presidential elections, members of the same political party compete for their party’s presidential nomination. Based on the results of the primaries and caucuses, party delegates declare their presidential and vice presidential nominations.
To win the presidency, a candidate must earn more than half of the votes of the electoral college, which is an assembly of representatives of each state. The number of electors granted to each state equals the state’s number of elected members in Congress. Electors are supposed to cast their ballots based on the outcome of the popular vote (the vote of U.S. registered voters at the polls) in their state.
In the event that none of the candidates wins a majority of the electoral college vote, the winner is chosen by the House of Representatives.
Did you know ...
Why federal elections are held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November?
This was initially established in 1845.
Why November? For much of our history, America was a predominantly agrarian society. Law makers therefore took into account that November was perhaps the most convenient month for farmers and rural workers to be able to travel to the polls. The fall harvest was over (remembering that spring was planting time and summer was taken up with working the fields and tending the crops), but in the majority of the nation the weather was still mild enough to permit travel over unimproved roads.
Why Tuesday? Since most residents of rural America had to travel a significant distance to the county seat in order to vote, Monday was not considered reasonable as many people would need to begin travel on Sunday. This would, of course, have conflicted with church services and Sunday worship.
Why the first Tuesday after the first Monday? Lawmakers wanted to prevent election day from falling on the first of November for two reasons. Nov. 1 is All Saints Day, a holy day of obligation to Roman Catholics. In addition, most merchants were in the habit of doing their books from the preceding month on the 1st. Congress was apparently worried that the economic success or failure of the previous month might influence the vote of the merchants.