But how do you vote in the United States?
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It will certainly not have escaped your notice: the month of November is synonymous with elections in the United States – which are held exactly on “Tuesday following the first Monday of the month”. First notable difference with France: exit our national Sunday and the detours precipitated by a polling station before a spring picnic of circumstance. May gives way to November. And Sunday to a Tuesday. And this year was no exception: the highly anticipated midterm elections were held on the Tuesday following the first Monday of the month. We cannot say that the Americans do not like precision.

So you think it is now enough to slip a ballot into an envelope which will in turn be inserted into a transparent ballot box? I said “precision” – not “simplicity”. What if – in this month of November – the time had come to make an incursion into the American electoral system? Hoping that the small envelopes and other ballot boxes so dear to France will not be too harsh on us.

One election can hide another

First question to ask: but who are we designating through this election – or rather these elections ? We know that they are held on a Tuesday in November (and not just any Tuesday) and that they take place every two years at the federal level (I add this clarification). And so far, it’s pretty simple: these elections are used to elect the members of Congress who represent the Americans in Washington DC (and once in two to elect the president – ​​incidentally). I told you that Americans like precision. And yet, a simple reflection on the name of the country (the states United) reminds us of the leading role played by each state. So why election day shouldn’t he leave them the good part too? A subtle transition from national to regional – which we talk about much less often.

And yet this is a reality: the Americans are also called upon to elect, every two years, some of the representatives and senators representing them at a state (as opposed to level federal). And since we left to vote in abundance, why stop there? election day will also allow you to elect the president of your county of residence (known as “parishes” in Louisiana) or some city councillors. And judges and sheriffs – who are elected in the United States – are not left out.

Passion for elections. I will have warned you: one election can hide another.

The art of the “billboard”, the “yard sign” and the “bumper sticker”

And the campaign in all this? Once again, let us operate a shift from the singular to the plural: it is rather a question of campaigns. And here you will not be entitled to posters taped to unstable metal panels near schools. We are rather on a passion billboard at the edge of the highway. And of course commercial (advertisements) touting the alleged “integrity” candidates, who like to highlight their family and show themselves praying in church, rosary in hand (well, this second option is more for Republicans, let’s face it). This very American idea which consists above all in wanting to be “a good person”.

And the ideas in all this? We don’t really know where they are as it feels like we’re watching the trailer for an action movie – church and angelic children as a bonus. And you want to show your support for your favorite candidate? I recommend it to you yard signs (these little signs that you plant on your perfectly manicured lawn) or the bumper stickers (those stickers you stick on the back of your car).

The only problem ? By dint of wanting to do too much, we end up doing nothing. And that’s where the whole problem lies. Split campaigns, multiple ballots. Voters are turning away from elections (which sometimes seem incomprehensible) – and less than 30% of 18-29 year olds vote in the United States. Maybe we really need them to make their voices heard, right?

Five-page form or computer?

The time has come to make your choice and go vote. Today is the Tuesday following the first Monday of the month. In fact, not necessarily. Did I lie to you? A clarification is necessary: ​​it is possible to vote in advance – in particular for people who would not be present on the day of the election. If applicable (administrative expression are circumstantial), your state will send you a form to complete – known here as aabsent nerd. And I substitute the term “form” to that of “bulletin” for a reason: we will send you a document of five pages (each comprising two columns), inviting you to tick the name of the candidate chosen for each function (president, senator, or even sheriff, as example). And if you choose to vote in person on election day (good old fashioned – some things are still the same), you’ll complete this form directly on your computer.

And needless to say, it is better to be well prepared. It seems that I (knowingly) forgot to tell you something. election day also includes referendums – on top of everything else. And to say that the questions are phrased in a somewhat convoluted way (hello double negatives) would be an understatement. Fortunately, specialized websites are there to help our American friends see things more clearly – and nothing prevents you from preparing your list of “answers” ​​in advance (in shopping list mode).

Suddenly, slipping a newsletter into an envelope immediately seems less complicated, right? So, see you in the next elections.

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