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Elections in the United States

• Elections in the United States  • Other Voting Methods  • The Math

By law, Election Day in the United States occurs the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. On this day each year, millions of Americans cast their votes for mayors, governors, senators, representatives, and presidents. Of course, we don’t elect all of these positions each year. The presidential election occurs only once every four years, for example, and senators serve six-year terms.

In the U.S., every voter gets to select one candidate from a list. The winner, of course, is the candidate who receives the most votes. And why not? How else would you decide who gets elected?

Actually, there are many ways to decide. The plurality method chooses a winner by determining which candidate receives the most votes when each voter chooses only one candidate. But other methods allow voters to choose more than one candidate, to rank the candidates in order from best to worst, or to divide points among the candidates.

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