How did the U.S. political system get the way it did?
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Catesby Holmes, The Conversation; Jeff Inglis, The Conversation, and Naomi Schalit, The Conversation

Editors’ note: In a world transformed by a pandemic, few of the fundamentals in Americans’ lives – schools, jobs, even how to shop for groceries – have remained the same. The same is true with the election, where the most basic of the institution’s elements – how, where and when to vote, among them – have changed.

When The Conversation US’s politics editors met to figure out how to provide readers with coverage that would be useful and informative, the approach was clear: a civics lesson. Over the course of roughly 100 articles, our scholars have explained how the U.S. election system works, retold the history of how it got that way and examined what effects and significance those mechanisms have for the nation today.

Here, our team has collected all of these articles, divided thematically, from the very beginning of campaigning through what happens after Election Day itself.

A candidate elbow-bumping a voter in a restaurant

Eugene DePasquale, left, Democratic candidate in Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District, in Harrisburg, Penn., Sept. 19, shows that even the traditional handshake with voters has changed in pandemic-era campaigns.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images


Basic elements of political campaigning

Campaigning in a pandemic

Campaign tactics

A graphic showing text notifications.

Campaigns send lots of texts.
Jake Olimb/DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images

Political conventions

Money in politics

Cory Booker can use money left over from his presidential campaign to run for reelection to the Senate.
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Candidates’ debates

Media and public perception

President Elizabeth Keane, played by actress Elizabeth Marvel, stands at a podium in an episode of 'Homeland.'

President Elizabeth Keane of ‘Homeland’ is a craven politician who has a ruinous tenure in office.


Vice presidential and Cabinet picks

Rep. Bella Abzug speaks to a crowd of some 10,000 at ‘The War is Over’ celebration in Central Park on May 11, 1975, where she called for unconditional amnesty for Vietnam War draft dodgers in Sweden and Canada.

International perspectives

A man stands at an outdoor voting booth.

A voter casts a ballot at a mobile voting station in California in May 2020.
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The process of voting

History of voting

Voter suppression

Milwaukee voters wait in a social-distancing line, some wearing masks, before voting in the state’s spring elections on April 7.
AP Photo/Morry Gash

Many voters face obstacles

Specific voting groups and blocs

Asian Americans leave a polling palce

Asian American voters leave a Temple City, California, polling place in 2012, in the state’s first legislative district that is majority Asian American.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

How to vote

A polling place in a public building with booths and voters.

Voting is important. Make sure you know how to do it!
Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Voting in person

Voting by mail

Mailed ballots sit in a box.

In most states, ballots must be mailed in official envelopes.
AP Photo/Hans Pennink
A woman looks at papers.

Staff of the House of Representatives review Illinois’ Electoral College vote report in January 2017.
Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images


Electoral College

Election integrity

A white sign with red text that says 'Every Vote Counts.'

Every vote counts – but what does it mean when election results go to court?
Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Potential for violence

Who decides the outcome?

The floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1993.

Under the Electoral Count Act, Congress supervises the counting of the Electoral College ballots in early January after the presidential election happens.
Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images

How it all ends

The Conversation

Catesby Holmes, International Editor | Politics Editor, The Conversation; Jeff Inglis, Politics + Society Editor, The Conversation, and Naomi Schalit, Senior Editor, Politics + Society, The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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