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“Basic Data for Understanding Presidential Elections in the United States” |  Daily list

“Basic Data for Understanding Presidential Elections in the United States” | Daily list

Tens of thousands of Americans will go to the polls in November to choose the next occupant of the White House.

Below are the basic concepts for understanding these elections.

November 2024

On November 5, 2024, the United States will hold presidential and legislative elections, traditionally held on the Tuesday following the first Monday of the month.

The 2020 election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump drew a record 157 million voters.

270, the magical number

In the United States, voting is done by indirect universal suffrage in a round by a peculiar system.

Citizens appoint 538 principal electors, who vote for a candidate.

To win an election, a candidate must secure an absolute majority of the core electorate, i.e. the magic number of 270.

Each state has the same number of electoral votes as it has members of Congress in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

California, the nation's most populous state (54), has only 3 in Delaware, Wyoming and the capital, Washington.

In all but two states, the candidate who receives the majority of votes takes all the major electorates associated with that territory.

The exceptions are Nebraska and Maine, where large electorates are assigned by proportional representation.

Major States

Some states are historically Democratic and others historically Republican.

This explains why candidates tend to focus on roughly a dozen states, which typically vary from one side to the other, that affect the outcome of the election, popular swing states.

Those with large electorates such as Pennsylvania (19), Ohio (17) and Georgia (16) are the most important. Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada are drawing interest.

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Key states may vary depending on elections.