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Before party nominees square off in the general election, presidential hopefuls battle for their party's nomination in caucuses and primary elections "primaries" across the country.
There's nothing regarding primaries in the US Constitution, so the game play is determined by party and state laws.
State governments run primary elections - not the parties - in essentially the same way they run the general election. State laws determine if these primaries are closed, meaning only those registered with that party can vote, or open, where unaffiliated voters can also participate.
If a candidate wins a primary election, they win either all or a proportion of the state's delegates, depending on party rules.
Those delegates will then vote for them at the party convention, where the presidential nominee is officially named.
It's a system that became widespread for the presidential election in the s. Before that, a nominee was selected by party members at conventions.
In , just over 57 million Americans - The primary process is rather uniquely American, but there are some similarities in Australia and Israel for "pre-selecting" candidates.
A handful of states, like Iowa, have caucuses instead of primaries. Caucuses are run by the parties in precincts across the state. As they are not run by the state governments, caucuses give parties more flexibility in determining the rules, like who can vote.
For Democratic caucuses, no ballots are cast, and votes are determined by standing in groups around a room. As Democrats are looking to unseat Mr Trump, who is all but certain to be the Republican nominee, their primaries are more closely watched.
In April, Mr Sanders announced his exit from the race, making Mr Biden the last candidate standing and effectively crowning the former vice-president the Democratic nominee.
Most states also hold primaries, with Mr Trump's name on the ballots but he has faced no serious challengers. Some states have moved forward with primaries despite ongoing lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Wisconsin was criticised for holding an in-person vote on 7 April despite health concerns related to the virus, while other states like Wyoming, Ohio and Kansas, held their contests by mail.
A total of 15 others, including Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have postponed their primary elections as late as August.
The Democratic National Convention, where the party will name its nominees for president and vice-president, will be held in mid-August in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
That's a month later than initially scheduled because of the virus outbreak. It could yet be a virtual event.
Technically, President Trump is not the official Republican candidate until it is announced at the convention.
That's more likely to be an in-person event because Republican leaders are generally more bullish about returning to "normal".
After that, we can look forward to four debates when President Trump or Vice-President Mike Pence take the stage along with their Democratic challengers.
The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, established in , sponsors and runs these debates.
The first of three presidential debates will take place in Indiana on 29 September, with two more in October. The popular vote - the sheer number of votes received by each candidate - will have nothing to do with determining the winner of the 3 November general election.
That comes down to the "electoral college" vote. A simple majority of out of the votes available wins the White House.
This makes some states very important to candidates, as more populous states have a bigger number of electoral votes. According to The New York Times , polling misses have been attributed to, among other issues, reduced average response to polling; the relative difficulty to poll certain types of voters; and pandemic-related problems, such as a theory which suggests Democrats were less willing to vote in person on Election Day than Republicans for fear of contracting COVID Protests against Trump's challenges to the election results took place in Minneapolis, Portland, New York, and other cities.
Police in Minneapolis arrested more than demonstrators for blocking traffic on an interstate highway. In Portland, the National Guard was called out after some protesters smashed windows and threw objects at police.
Trump and a variety of his surrogates and supporters made a series of false claims that the election was fraudulent. Claims that substantial fraud was committed have been repeatedly debunked.
Some described the election as remarkably successful considering the coronavirus pandemic, the record turnout, and the unprecedented number of mailed ballots.
As ballots were still being counted two days after Election Day, Trump asserted without evidence that there was "tremendous corruption and fraud going on," adding, "If you count the legal votes, I easily win.
If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us. Leading up to the election the effect was predicted to be even greater than usual, as Trump's attacks on mail voting might have deterred Republicans from casting mail ballots.
Many claims of purported voter fraud were discovered to be false or misleading. In Fulton County, Georgia the number of votes affected was , with no breakdown of which candidates they were for.
James E. Days after Biden had been declared the winner, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany asserted without evidence that the Democratic Party was welcoming fraud and illegal voting.
No active lawsuit even alleges, and no evidence presented so far has shown, widespread problems. One week after the election, Republican Philadelphia city commissioner Al Schmidt said he had not seen any evidence of widespread fraud, stating, "I have seen the most fantastical things on social media, making completely ridiculous allegations that have no basis in fact at all and see them spread.
We win! Attorneys who brought accusations of voting fraud or irregularities before judges were unable to produce actual evidence to support the allegations.
In one instance, a Trump attorney sought to have ballot counting halted in Detroit on the basis of a claim by a Republican poll watcher that she had been told by an unidentified person that ballots were being backdated; Michigan Court of Appeals judge Cynthia Stephens dismissed the argument as "inadmissible hearsay within hearsay.
These claims were debunked by the Associated Press. After the election, the Trump campaign filed a number of lawsuits in multiple states, including Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.
Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt said "[t]here's literally nothing that I've seen yet with the meaningful potential to affect the final result".
In Nevada—a state Trump lost by 2. In Pennsylvania—which Biden won by more than 82, votes—Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani was in court asking a judge to overturn the state's results.
Early in the morning on November 4, with vote counts still going on in many states, Trump claimed that he had won.
Biden described Trump's refusal as "an embarrassment". Trump acknowledged Biden's victory in a tweet on November 15, although he refused to concede and blamed his loss on fraud.
We have a long way to go. Murphy , refused for over two weeks to certify Biden as the president-elect. Without formal GSA certification or "ascertainment" of the winner of the election, the official transition process was delayed.
Trump said he had instructed his administration to "do what needs to be done" but did not concede, and indicated he intended to continue his fight to overturn the election results.
Prior to and following the election, Trump and others within the Republican Party have considered asking Republican state legislatures to select their states' electors as a way to secure a Trump reelection, in the event of a Biden victory.
On November 18, it was reported that Trump had decided to focus his efforts on a bid to delay final vote counts for long enough that Biden is unable to claim a clear victory.
Trump maintained that he would win the election, tweeting "Important News Conference today by lawyers on a very clear and viable path to victory.
Pieces are very nicely falling into place. RNC at P. The two Republican members of Wayne County, Michigan 's canvassing board voted against certifying its election results before reversing course and certifying them.
Trump praised their initial action, writing on Twitter "Wow! Michigan just refused to certify the election results!
Having courage is a beautiful thing. The USA stands proud! After the initial refusal drew severe condemnation and the two Republican canvassers were widely publicly denounced, with one video of a local entrepreneur harshly accusing the GOP canvassers of racism going viral online, the board reversed course and certified the results for Biden.
As the residents of Detroit are mostly black, while the areas of Wayne County outside Detroit are mostly white, experts raised questions of race-based motives for refusing the certification of the vote.
The following day, they both signed affidavits stating they wanted to rescind their vote to certify. On November 25, one day after Pennsylvania certified its election results, a Republican state senator requested a hearing of the State Senate Majority Policy Committee to discuss election issues.
The event, described as an "informational meeting," was held at a hotel in Gettysburg and featured Rudy Giuliani asserting that the election had been subject to massive fraud.
Trump also spoke to the group by speakerphone, repeating his insistence that he had actually won in Pennsylvania and other swing states, and saying "We have to turn the election over.
On December 2, Trump posted a 46 minute video to his social media. The taped speech, filmed in the White House, claimed the election was "rigged" and repeated numerous falsehoods and allegations of fraud that have been repeatedly rejected by multiple courts in several states.
He repeatedly called for either the state legislatures or the courts to overturn the results of the election and allow him to stay in power.
Trump continued to apply pressure to elected Republicans in an unprecedented attempt to overturn the democratic election result, in ways never attempted in US history.
On December 5, , hours before attending a rally in Georgia, Trump called Brian Kemp , the Republican governor of Georgia, and pressured him to recall the legislature to overturn the election result.
On December 8, , it was reported that Trump had called the Pennsylvania speaker of the house twice in the past week, asking him to ignore the popular vote of the state and select electors that would vote for Trump in the electoral college.
This marked the third state Trump had directly intervened in to overturn a result he lost. On November 11, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger ordered a statewide hand recount of the vote in addition to the normal audit process.
At the time, Biden held a lead of 14, votes, or 0. Georgia law allows for a recount if there is a margin of 0. Trump condemned both Kemp and Raffensperger, tweeting that signature comparisons would give victories to not only him but also Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
The recount started November 20 and was required to be completed by December 1. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the Senate, House, and other related races, see United States elections.
The electoral map for the presidential election, based on calls made by a consensus of media outlets. Numbers indicate allotted electoral votes.
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State or district. Further information: United States election protests. Main articles: Pre-election lawsuits related to the United States presidential election and Post-election lawsuits related to the United States presidential election.
Modern history portal Politics portal United States portal. Other candidates were listed on ballots of more than one state and were listed on ballots or were write-in candidates in most states or in states representing most of the electoral college.
Following the practice of the Federal Election Commission,  they are reflected in this table. Following the practice of the Federal Election Commission,  only valid votes are reflected in this table.
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