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Election 2020

Primary Elections

Primary elections are elections within a political party to determine which candidate will represent the party in a general election. Primary elections are held for both state and federal elected offices. Presidential elections often start out with many candidates running in each party's primary election. In the year before a presidential election, each state holds a primary election or caucus to determine who the state will allocate their delegates at the Parties' National Nominating Conventions. 

Massachusetts held it's Primary for the 2020 Presidential election on March 3, 2020 and it's Primary for state elected officials on September 1, 2020

Though regulations vary state to state, generally you can only vote in one party's primary. In Massachusetts, if you are registered member of a political party you may only vote in that party's primary. If you are a registered voter but unaffiliated with a political party you may choose which primary to vote in but you may only choose one.

Presidential Elections

The next Presidential Election will take place on November 3, 2020. It will be the 59th Presidential Election in US History.

Starting in early 2020, the major political parties will hold Primary Elections. Primary Elections feature candidates from the same political party competing for the party's nomination. The candidate that each party nominates will compete against each other in the General Election.


(From USA.GOV)

The Electoral College

"In U.S. government, the body of electors that chooses the president and vice president. The Constitution, in Article 2, Section 1, provides: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress." However, no senator, representative, or officer of the U.S. government may be an elector. The electors are directed by the Constitution to vote in their respective states, and Congress is authorized to count their votes." 
"Electoral College." The Columbia Encyclopedia, Columbia University, and Paul Lagasse, Columbia University Press, 2016. Credo Reference. Click here to read more

Read more about the Electoral College in U.S. History in Context

"The Pros and Cons of the Electoral College" published in Congressional Digest, June 2020

Learn More About the Presidency

List of Presidents of the United States 

The American Presidency Project  from UCSB

Presidential Election Process from USA.GOV

The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Commercials from 1952-2016


Picture source: ‚Äč"The Seal of the President of the United States (Colour Litho)." Bridgeman Images, BridgemanImages, 2014. Credo Reference.

Midterm Elections

Midterm Elections mark the halfway point of a Presidential term. The President is not up for election during the Midterms but it does deicde new members of Congress and can impact which political party controls Congress for the next two years.

Members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms and all seats in the House are up for election in the Midterm. Senators serve six-year terms and those elections are staggered so that one-third of the Senate is up for election in each election cycle, including the Midterm.  Midterm elections are not as popular as Presidential elections, with fewer eligible voters casting ballots. All registered and eligible voters are entitled to vote in every election.


The seats held in the US House of Representatives in the 166th Congress.  232 seats are held by Democrats, 198 seats are held by Republicans, 4 seats are vacant, and 1 seat is held by a Libertarian. There are 6 no-voting members of the House of Representatives representing American Citizens who live the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the US Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands; as well as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Federal District of Washington, DC.  

 All 435 seats are up for election in the upcoming 2020 election. 


(Public Domain)

The 116th Senate 53 seats are held by Republicans, 45 seats are held by Democrats, and 2 seats are held by Independents. Both Independents generally caucus with the Democratic party.  One-third of the seats are up for election in each election. 

Researching Elections