Elections and the Constitution

The main elections in the USA are:

The organization of elections is primarily the responsibility of the 50 individual states according to the Constitution. While some voting rules are consistent nationwide, many differ. Certain national standards are required by laws like the Voting Rights Act 1965 and the Help America Vote Act 2002, but states have considerable autonomy in conducting elections. This decentralization is a fundamental aspect of the Constitution. As a result, there can be significant variations in practices such as postal voting, early voting, primary and caucus organization, and the voting rights of former felons. There is no national voter registry, and states employ diverse voting methods. Some use electronic voting machines, while others prefer traditional paper ballots. A few states, like Utah, automatically mail ballots to all registered voters. Lever machines were commonly used in the USA until the 1990s, with New York being the last state to discontinue their use in 2009. Following the 2020 elections, Georgia's state law mandated a runoff election in January 2021 as neither candidate in its two senatorial races received over 50% of the vote in November.

The emphasis on state-specific election policies has sparked debates regarding the implementation of more stringent voter ID regulations. Certain states, particularly those under Republican influence, have aimed to enhance regulations to deter suspected voter fraud. States such as Kansas and Mississippi have imposed stringent criteria on acceptable forms of photo identification, resulting in allegations of voter suppression. It is important to highlight that despite assertions by Trump and his Republican allies that the 2020 election was illicitly influenced, instances of voter fraud are exceedingly uncommon in the United States.

In numerous states, judges are elected to the state supreme court level, potentially compromising the judiciary's independence. Despite being officially non-partisan, many candidates openly align with either conservative or liberal ideologies.

Different states have significant autonomy when it comes to key areas like voter registration rules. For instance, North Dakota lacks a formal voter registration process, though voters must present identification when casting their ballots. The disparity among states is also evident in ballot access legislation. Some states, including Oklahoma, have stringent regulations. In 2020, Green Party contender Howie Hawkins was unable to officially be on the ballot in 21 states, and was instead a write-in candidate in 17 states, with no chance to vote Green in four states. To sum up, despite national elections in the United States, there is no national electoral system.