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Intro to U.S. Elections

The United States holds major elections every two years – but votes for a president every four years.

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Every four years, America holds an election to choose a president. This is one of our country’s most important votes, but it is not the only one. Elections are held at the city, state, and national levels, and their results can impact American lives more than presidential elections.

Cities vote for their own officials. States vote for their own governors and lawmakers, and this can happen at different times all across the country. They also participate in national elections, when members of Congress are elected for each state. Members of Congress are elected on the same day as the president, every four years.

We also have midterm elections, which take place halfway between each presidential election – this means the U.S. holds national votes every two years. Midterm elections involve choosing members of Congress and voting on local issues.

Politicians in the House of Representatives serve two-year terms, while those in the Senate serve six-year terms. Representatives are all up for re-election every two years. Senate elections are staggered so that about one-third compete at a time.

Each state has its own rules for elections. Generally, states have primaries to choose candidates, who then face off in a general election.

Not all Americans choose to vote in every election. More people turn out to vote in presidential election years, compared to midterm elections. Midterms are getting more attention recently, though, since the members of Congress affect what the president can achieve.

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Jose Backer, General Assignment Reporter, is a graduate of St. Michael's College and is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Political Science. Born and raised in Southern California, he currently resides in the Pasadena area.

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