Elections are democratic processes in which the citizens of a state choose their leaders by voting. An election is a formal and organized choice by voting a person for a political office or any other position. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, it is a time when people vote to choose somebody for a political or an official job.
So, can a presidential election be postponed?
There could be the postponement of elections when circumstances demand. However, the question is, can a presidential election be postponed? In the United States of America, the postponement of a presidential election is possible under the American Constitution. However, the stringent process makes it quite challenging to postpone a presidential election in practice.
Read further for more useful information!
What An Election Entails?
Elections are formal processes used in democratic governments to pick leaders and representatives. Polls are not only processes used in different executive levels of a democratic nation’s government from the presidential level to state and local government levels, but also in other arms of a government like a judiciary and a legislature.
Private associations, corporations, organizations, and unions also make use of elections to choose its leaders and representatives.
Electioneering processes differ from country to country, and the difference is mostly due to the difference in culture, norms, and practices or economic reality in these countries. However, the basic concept of elections is the same across these democracies.
There is usually a strict age restriction on eligible voters, not all of a country’s population can vote in the general elections. Non-citizens cannot also participate in the voting process, though in some parts of Europe, European Union Citizens can vote in some municipal regions outside their area of origin.
The electioneering process includes but is not limited to the electoral system, scheduling, nomination of candidates, campaigns, etc.
Every country, state, or organization has a particular procedure through which they hold elections. Electoral systems range from having an electoral umpire to oversee the organization and execution of elections, to the actual vote casting by constituents.
Electoral systems derive their authority from the Constitution of the democratic nation. It solidifies and authenticates the electoral process hence ensuring that votes cast turn to political decisions. In most countries, the electoral umpire decides the voting system used.
It is the duty of the Constitution-backed electoral arbitrators to decide, design, and publish the timetable for elections and ensure that all requirements and arrangements are in place to ensure prompt execution of the election schedule.
Democratic countries usually have a regular period in which they hold elections. It helps to eliminate dictatorship as there are a limited number of years a particular individual can hold a position or occupy an office.
In the United States of America, elections into positions and public offices have a varying number of years, according to the office. Presidential election holds every four years; the next presidential elections is to hold in November 2020.
State and federal public offices elections in the US typically have two years and six years interval, though judicial offices have longer intervals between elections. Different countries around the world have elections intervals of four, five, six, and even seven years for their presidential elections.
The scheduling of elections is pivotal to the success of every election. It gives the parties involved time to plan, strategize, nominate and select suitable candidates, campaign and mobilize supporters, and win potential voters.
It also gives the electoral arbitrator a timeline to formulate plans and work effectively for the smooth actualization of the election. The announcement of election creates an atmosphere of fairness for all parties involved in the electioneering process.
Nomination Of Candidates
Since countries that hold elections are democratic, and elections into public offices require the nomination of the most qualified candidates. These candidates will contest against each other, and the candidate with the most votes wins.
Democracies can have partisan and nonpartisan candidate nomination processes. Partisan candidate nomination process is within a political party; here, the nominators and nominee are members of the political party.
Nonpartisan setups involve the direct nomination of individuals who they deem as qualified for the offices that they seek to fill. Some democracies practice both partisan and nonpartisan election nomination styles. The United States of America practices a two-party system, and the two political parties are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.
Electoral campaigns are actions carried out by political parties or independent candidates to influence voters’ decisions in their favor. Campaigns utilize advertisements and policy debate contest for the votes of constituents. The presidential election of 2012 in the United States is the most expensive in history, grossing an estimated 7 billion US dollars.
Elections In The United States Of America
Generally, elections in the US holds in November. It excludes the nominations and campaigns by parties, which can begin as much as 21 months before the elections. The United States of America practices an indirect form of presidential elections into the offices of the president and vice president.
In indirect elections, the general populace vote to choose representatives who will participate in the voting process of the presidential election. The elected representatives constitute what we know as the Electoral College.
Each of the fifty states in America has its electoral college chosen by the registered voters in the state. The Electoral College members are those who then directly vote to select candidates for the offices of the president and vice president of the United States, and the votes are what we refer to as electoral votes.
The candidate with the most number of electoral votes becomes the winner of the election. If none of the candidates secures the majority of votes in an election, the House of Representatives will vote to decide who the president will be, while the Senate will vote to determine who occupies the office of the vice president.
The Constitution of the US establishes the procedure of selecting and administering the electoral colleges in the voting processes. Each of the fifty states has its Constitution, which guides the selection of Electoral College members.
Overtime, electoral processes begin with an indication of interest to run for office or by the nomination of candidates, conventions, primaries, debates, and campaigns, not necessarily in this order. The political parties also practice indirect voting process where they elect delegates.
The delegates are the ones to participate in choosing the presidential and vice-presidential candidates that will represent each political party during the general elections. The typical election schedule corresponding to dates in 2020 is as follows:
Before February 2020, there is the nomination of candidates or candidates to announce their intention to run for office, and they carry out the necessary documentation processes that the Federal Election Commission may require.
Caucus primaries and debates hold between February to April 2020, while nominating conventions will hold between May to August 2020. From September to October 2020, there will be the presidential election debates between candidates.
On November 3, 2020, the general election is to hold, here is where they carry out the election of members of the Electoral College members. It holds on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November.
On December 14, 2020, the Electoral College members will cast electoral votes, and on January 6, 2021, Congress is to count and certify all electoral votes cast. By January 20, 2021, the candidate that earns the highest number of votes cast will get inaugurated.
Can The Presidential Election Be Postponed?
In the past, there were calls for postponement of election day from people in some quarters, and it was for various reasons. For example, after the 9/11 attack, there were concerns about probable terrorist attacks in the presidential election of 2004.
Thus, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security called for the postponement of the elections. The call was over fears of terror attacks. Congress declined the request, stating that postponing the election will mean conceding defeat to terrorists. However, it was not the primary reason that Congress refused the postponement of the 2004 election.
The Constitution of the United States explicitly divides the power to set national election dates between the federal and state governments. It makes the postponement of elections to be difficult as it will need approval from both the federal and state governments.
The process will involve debates and long, tedious processes. Thus, the thought of engaging the mechanism to postpone elections and all the processes involved discourages the postponing of elections. Since 1845, there have been a series of attempts to change national election dates and procedures, but none of it has been feasible.
The reasons relating to partisan politics can not trigger considerations for election postponement, but matters bordering on national security can influence a call for postponement of elections. Nevertheless, effecting any change will require lengthy procedures and a lot of factors to put into consideration.
There have been several times in history in which several different individuals considered postponement of the elections in the United States of America. However, so far, there has not been any postponement of presidential elections. The structures to regulate delay of elections will require a reassessing of the Constitution that shares the power of fixing election dates between the Federal, States, and Local Governments.
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