When Americans go to the polls on 3 November, their main goal will be voting in the presidential elections. However, election day in the United States gives citizens the opportunity to Express their views on wider issues. This writes the Share America.
You will also need to elect leaders at the Federal level, state and local governments. Will vote under the system election initiatives, which allows citizens of many U.S. States to resolve issues that may affect their daily lives.
More than just a presidential election
In 2020 at the Federal level will choose the U.S. President, 35 members of the Senate and all 435 voting members of the house of representatives. Senators serve for six years, so in every electoral cycle is determined by a vote of about a third of the hundred seats. Members of the house of representatives are elected every two years in even-numbered years.
At the state level this year elected 11 governors and more than 5 thousand members of state legislatures.
“What the President does from day to day, not affect people’s lives to the same extent as decisions of local governments and state governments, says Stella rouse, a Professor of government at the University of Maryland and Director of the Center for democracy and civic engagement. – Most laws are enacted at the state level”.
That’s why elections at the state level this year is especially important.
In addition, the newly elected legislators of the States will redraw the boundaries of electoral districts. This important work is carried out every ten years (census of population, which, in turn, is also conducted once in ten years) and can help one side or another to win elections.
“It really matters who controls the state legislature,” says Josh Chafetz, Professor of law at Cornell University.
Elected officials state important especially at a time when the political transition in Washington, slows down the legislative process at the Federal level. “We need to focus on the States, says rouse. – They fill a void in decision-making in areas such as immigration.”
Local officials such as mayors and members of city Council, in a presidential election year get more votes, because voter turnout is higher. This is good because they address issues close to the hearts of voters, for example, the repair of streets, improvements in local schools and to stimulate the regional economy.
Policy is carried out by citizens
Twenty-four States also allow voters to directly Express their opinions through electoral initiatives, without the participation of elected officials. official Initiatives have gained popularity in 1978 when California voters cut property taxes in accordance with the so-called Proposition 13. Other measures adopted in some States that have tightened gun laws, raised the minimum wage for workers and created an independent Commission to monitor the change of electoral boundaries.
According to Raus, the principle of electoral initiatives is to give people more power. But the cost of election campaigns, including legal fees for drafting the forms and the purchase of advertising have become so high that today they are less accessible to individuals.
How to manage winners?
The system of distribution of power between different levels in the United States is based on a Constitution which separates the powers of state and Federal officials and the States share powers with local authorities.
“There are some issues that are better coordinated at the national level, says Chafets, such as national defense. – There are many other activities that do not involve a unified approach. Theoretically, federalism allows both the first and second”.
For example, the voters of one state decide if they want a higher level of services and raise taxes, while voters in other States can choose otherwise.
“Federalism may lead to conflict between the Federal authorities and the authorities of the States, but at the same time and facilitate more effective policy – said rouse. – The division of power and constant friction between state governments and the country is good.”
“When you go through this whole process, the result is the best possible,” she concludes.
The names of the official candidates for U.S. President from the major parties we know in the summer of 2020. The national Convention of the Democrats ends July 16, the Republican – August 27. Themselves as presidential elections will be held on 3 November.
The electoral system in the country is so complex that even among Americans, not all understand it. ForumDaily spread the whole process through to English speaking US citizens could make an informed choice.