There are three basic types of elections in the United States: primary, general and special. Elections are held on the federal level to elect the president and Congressional leaders while state and local elections are used to elect governors, state legislators and local office holders.
Primary elections are used to narrow the number of candidates down to just the party leaders. Primaries are sometimes referred to as "nominating primary" elections, and the winners of a primary election move on to the next election round, which is the general election. General elections are held on the Tuesday that follows the first Monday in November. General elections are only held in even-numbered years
Special elections are sometimes required when an elected official dies, resigns or is removed from an office. Special elections may also be held to address a special issue that arises that is seen as too urgent to wait for the next general election.
With the exception of North Dakota, all states require that voters be registered to vote. Voters can vote in person at a local polling place, or voters can cast their votes by mailing in an absentee ballot or returning an absentee ballot if unable to make it to the polling place on election day.Learn More
A gubernatorial election is important because it determines the chief executive officer for the state. The chief executive, by appointing heads of various state agencies and boards and by working with the state legislature, determines the allocation of scarce public resources.Full Answer >
For the most part, congressional elections take place on Election Day, which is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, every even-numbered year. Special elections may be held on other dates, and each state can set its own primary elections to determine the final candidates.Full Answer >
A spoiler candidate takes votes away from a major candidate who offers a similar political ideology. This means that the chances of success of the opposing major candidate are better as the splitting of the vote has a spoiler effect for the initial party in question.Full Answer >
The central issue of the 1866 congressional elections was President Johnson's reconstruction policy. The policy heavily favored the south and was extremely lax about the treatment of newly freed slaves. Republican members of Congress disagreed with the policy and refused to recognize it.Full Answer >