• Aslam Abdullah

U.S. Elections 2020: An Overview

Updated: Jul 31

Beginning this week, the Muslim Observer will have a weekly report every Wednesday on election 2020. The first is an overview. We will identify battleground states in the Presidential, Senate, and House races, focus on issues and report on voting trends. We will also explain some of the terms such as toss-up, open seats, Two-round system (TRS), or Instant-runoff voting (IRV). Stay tuned for the new election cycle that will impact every aspect of our lives in the coming years.


On November 2020, 152 million registered voters in a population of 330 million will have the opportunity to elect the next President of the United States The elections will also take place for 435 House of Representative members, 35 senators, 11 governors, and thousands of legislatures for the House and Senate of the fifty states. Additionally, several cities will have mayoral elections and other elections for local bodies.

The election for the President takes place every four years, for house members every two years and for senators six years.

U.S. Elections take place every even-numbered year. Every four years, the people elect the President, vice president, one-third of the Senate, and the entire House. When there isn't a presidential election, every even number year, the people elect one-third of the Senate and the whole House.

The President

Article two of the U.S. constitution lays the foundation of Presidential election through an electoral college. The electoral college was a compromise between those who wanted Congress to elect the President and others who wanted people to do so directly.

The electoral comprises electors from each state. The number of electors from each state is equal to the size of its delegation in both houses. There are 538 members of the Electoral College. Each Presidential candidate has its preferred members of the Electoral College. Voters, in reality, choose members of the Electoral College even though they are not the candidates. Winner of popular votes in each state gets all its Electoral college members.

The six states with the most electors (191) are California (55), Texas (38), New York (29), Florida (29), Illinois (20), and Pennsylvania (20).

The first President was George Washington, who in On April 30, 1789, standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York, took his oath. President Trump is the 45th President.


The Senate

The direct election of senators in all states began in 1913. The Constitution initially wanted State legislature to elect senators to strengthen their relations with the Federal government. From 1789 to 1913, State legislatures elected Senators. Article I, section 3, of the Constitution, stated: "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote."

Congress passed on April 8, 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment to hold the senate election by popular vote.

The amendment read: The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

Following are some interesting facts about U.S. Senate

The first senators were Robert Morris and William Maclay from P.A.

The first woman elected was Hattie Caraway (D-AR), January 12, 1932.

The first African American Senator was Hiram R. Revels (R-MS), 1870, and Carol Moseley-Braun (D-IL) became the first African-American woman.

The first permanent Senate office building opened: March 5, 1909 (Russell Senate Office Building).

In the Current Senate, the Republicans have a majority of 53-47


The House

States are represented in the House of Representatives in approximate proportion to their populations, with every state guaranteed at least one seat. Five delegates and one resident commissioner serve as non-voting members. Representatives must be 25 years old and must have been U.S. citizens for at least seven years. Representatives serve 2-year terms.

More than 11,000 people have served in the House since 1789.

The first and only incumbent Representative to be elected President was

James A. Garfield of Ohio, 1880.

First African-American Representative was Joseph Rainey of South Carolina began in 1870.

First Hispanic-American Representative was Romualdo Pacheco of California began his House service on March 4, 1877.

The first woman Representative was Jeannette Rankin of Montana, 1917.

First Asian-Pacific American Representative was Dalip Saund of California in 1957.

The first Asian-American woman Representative was Patsy Mink of Hawaii, 1965.

The first African-American woman Representative, Shirley Chisholm of New York, began her House in1969.

First Hispanic-American woman Representative, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida in 1989

The first Muslim Congressman was Keith Ellison from Minnesota in 2007.

The first Muslim congresswomen were Rashid Tlaib and Omar Ilhan from Michigan and Minnesota in 2018.


The State Legislatures

The 50 states have 99 legislative chambers altogether. Eighty-six of those chambers will hold elections in 2020. Republicans have a majority in 61 and Democrats in 37.

Alaska House has a power-sharing agreement between the parties. Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia will not hold state legislative elections in 2020. Michigan will hold elections only for the Lower House, while North Dakota will hold elections only for the upper House.


The Governors

Eleven states will hold gubernatorial elections in 2020. Currently, Republicans have 26 and Democrats 24 governors. Of the 11 gubernatorial elections, Republicans hold seven, while Democrats hold four.


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© Aslam Abdullah