Election 2020: Here’s what you need to know

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You probably know that 2020 is a presidential election year. Next November, Americans will decide whether to rehire President Trump for four more years, or give the job to a Democratic challenger. Much of the political battle will take place right here in Wisconsin, a state that supported the Democratic nominee (Barack Obama) in 2008 and 2012, but which in 2016 switched to the Republican column. Below is a brief calendar of what will happen, with some key dates for you to plan around as a voter.

Fall 2019

November 2020 may be a ways off, but you have probably have seen a lot of campaigning happening already. This is because the Democratic Party must select a party nominee. Nearly twenty (for now) Democratic candidates are hoping to represent the party in its effort to oust President Trump from the Oval Office. They are competing with each other for votes from people like you that will be cast starting in early 2020. For now, you can learn about all the candidate options by watching interviews, debates, and other events. For instance, if you Google “2020 Democratic presidential candidates,” you will see dozens of links to websites to help you learn about your candidate options, ranging from voter guides to rankings by media outlets.

February-June 2020

Each state will hold an event in which its voters express support for one or more of Democratic candidates running for the party nomination. (The Republican Party holds primaries, too, but in 2020 the candidate will almost certainly be Donald Trump.) Some states, like Iowa, hold community meetings called caucuses. Other states, like New Hampshire, hold primary elections. Regardless of the system used, the goal for candidates is the same: win support from voters. On the line is a group of nearly 3,900 delegates spread across the country. Each state gets a portion of them, and allocates them to candidates based on how well those candidates perform in that state’s caucus/primary. Once the elections begin, you will start seeing a “delegate count” for each candidate indicating how many they have collected so far. The first candidate to secure a majority of the delegates (about 2,000) wins the Democratic nomination.

April 7, 2020

Wisconsin’s primary election will be held on April 7th, 2020. Voters will decide how to allocate our 77 delegates among the Democratic candidates running for president. Are you eligible to vote? Check out https://myvote. wi.gov/en-us/. Here you can see who will be on your ballot, where you will vote, and more! If you are a first-time voter, start here: https://elections.wi.gov/ voters/first-time. Note that all registered voters of any party are eligible to participate in Wisconsin’s primary election. Remember, this election is not about picking the president directly; it is about picking the individuals you want to represent the parties in the presidential election that happens in November.

July 2020

Once the caucuses and primaries are over and the delegates are allocated, the parties will each gather to officially nominate their candidates for the election. The Republican Party will meet in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Democrats will meet right down the road in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Fall 2020

After the parties nominate their respective candidates, the general election officially begins. Candidates will traverse the country and make their case to voters. Democrats will argue for change; Republicans will advocate we stay the course. Of course, we do not know yet who will win, but there is one thing we can predict with confidence: both parties want to win in Wisconsin. You will see a great deal of campaign activity around here next year.

November 3rd, 2020

The big day! Voters across the country will go out to vote for president. Once the polls close on the East Coast (around 7:00 p.m. our time), we will start to see the election results, starting with Atlantic states and then moving west as polls close across the country.

Stay Tuned

Wisconsin will feature prominently in the 2020 election. You can keep up with developments at the Warhawks Vote webpage: https://www.uww.edu/vote.

– Eric Loepp, UW-Whitewater assistant professor of Political Science