Image Credits: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Election Day is approaching quickly.  The end is near of what has been an interesting campaign season. There is a lot of information circulating regarding voting, debate schedules, and the election process. In order to make your life a little bit easier as you enter the highly anticipated election month, I have put all the important information you need to know regarding the 2016 presidential election in one place.

1) Debates

Who doesn’t love watching a good debate after a long day of attempting to study just a bit more for that midterm you have tomorrow? Here is the breakdown on the debate side:

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2) Voting

Election Day wouldn’t be Election Day without the main event that serves as the finale of the whole season: hitting the polls. Each state has slightly differing procedures as to how it handles voting and it can become a bit confusing. For better, more detailed information on voter I.D. laws in your state, visit your state’s website, or head to the National Conference of State Legislatures website. This site breaks down information by state, including what is considered a valid I.D. If you are looking for more information on your polling place, voting absentee, or what your ballot will look like, head over to USA.gov for all of that and more!

3) A Key Player: The Electoral College

While the debates and voting all play key roles in the final moments of the election, there is another piece that can be forgotten about–the Electoral College. Here is the who, what, when, where, and why you need to understand how our president is actually elected, summarized from Archives and Records Administration.  

Who: Those who make up the Electoral College are people called “Electors” (who would’ve guessed, right?). Electors are chosen both by the political parties at their state conventions and by voters on Election Day, although it can vary state by state. The Electors from the winning party are then their state’s representatives in the Electoral College.

What: The Electoral College is a mechanism that was established by our Founding Fathers to elect the President of the United States. Each state gets a certain amount of electoral votes, which is determined by each state’s number of representatives in the House of Representatives plus two. A candidate needs 270 (50% + 1) electoral votes to snag the keys to the White House. While the popular vote is undoubtedly important and demonstrates the views of our nation as a whole, the Electoral College is the final determinant of who will become the next president.

When: While you and me will hit the polls on November 8th, the College convenes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December following the election in their respective states where they vote for both President and Vice President (December 19th for this election cycle). On January 6th, 2017, Congress will hold a joint session where Vice President Joe Biden will formally count the electoral votes. Immediately following the count, he will announce who has been elected as the next POTUS.

Where: The voting happens in respective states on November 8th, and the formal count by Congress in January takes place in Washington, D.C.

Why: The Electoral College came about as a compromise between the Founding Fathers. While some wanted a nation-wide a popular vote determine the winner, others suggested that only members of Congress should vote in these critical elections. It was viewed as a middle ground, since there is both a popular vote and a Congressional aspect to it.

Whether or not this election cycle has played out how you wanted it to, do not forget to head to the polls on November 8th and make your vote count!

Bailey L
CABINET MEMBER
Bailey is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who enjoys writing, traveling, and coffee. When she isn't working, you can find her with her nose in a book or planning her next adventure.

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