Presidential Elections And Voting Systems Politics

Essay add: 28-10-2015, 12:11   /   Views: 175

All democratic countries have elections. However, as time passed each country found itself in the necessity of incorporate rules and regulations to their election and voting systems to suit their necessities. Two very different countries, the United States of America in North America and the Republic of Paraguay in South America, share one essential characteristic, the both embraced democracy as their form of government. Elections are a fundamental part of democracy; the United States and Paraguay have elections regularly. Their election and voting system have many similarities. Votes are only cast by citizens of each country, the citizens must 18 years old or older, the votes are cast with secret ballots, elections are held for different levels of the government during different periods of time, and many other similarities. Yet, they have two important differences: 1) the institutions that organize the voting system are different, and 2) in the presidential elections the United States chooses a president through an electoral college and the Republic of Paraguay chooses a president only by popular vote.

In the Republic of Paraguay, the requirements and eligibility for voters are established in the constitution written in 1992. All requirement, rights, and obligations of the voters are the same for all citizens in all the administrative divisions (i.e. departments) of the Republic. The Superior Court of Electoral Justice or Tribunal Superior de Justicia Electoral is the one and only organism responsible for the procedures to register voters (which from this year is automatic for all citizens who become 18 years old), accept or decline presidential candidates, organize elections, process results, solve election related problems, and proclaim a winner. On the other side, In the United States many of this tasks, however, are left to the States. The eligibility of an individual for voting is set out in the constitution but also regulated at state level. Most states, with the exception of North Dakota, require that citizens who wish to vote be registered. About the voting system, my opinion is that the system used in the United States is the best. Each state (which are equivalent to departments in the Republic of Paraguay) have different necessities, and the peoples of each state have different wishes. The best way to satisfy those wishes and necessities is through freedom of each state to make their own electoral rules, thing that does not happen in Paraguay.

One main difference regarding the election systems in both countries is the way a candidate for presidency is chosen. In the United States an electoral college elects the President. When a citizen of the United States votes for a presidential candidate, he or she is voting to instruct the electors from his or her state to cast the vote for the candidate the citizen voted. The candidate who wins the popular vote in a state also wins the votes of the state’s electors. On the other hand, in the Republic of Paraguay the presidential candidate who gets the largest percentage of total votes wins. Therefore, in Paraguay popular vote is the only relevant system.

The electoral college system is not free from critics. This system allows the possibility of a candidate being elected president of the United States by electoral vote, but losing the nationwide popular vote. A candidate winning by popular vote in only 11 states of those with the largest number of electors (i.e. 11 states of this list of 12 states: California, New York, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia) can be elected president even if the candidate loses in all the other states. Although this possibility may seem rather rare, it has happened in few occasions. In 1876, Republican Rutherford Hayes won by electoral votes, although his opponent, Democrat Samuel Tilden, won the popular vote (Historical). In 2000, Republican George Bush won by electoral votes, although his opponent, Democrat Al Gore, won the popular vote (2000). In my opinion, this system was suitable for the epoch in which it was established. There were no organized national political parties or structure to regulate the number of candidates. In addition, travel and communication were slow and difficult at that time. A very good candidate could be popular regionally, but remain unknown to the rest of the country. But now it is rather inadequate for a democracy because of the simple existence of the possibility of a candidate not being elected as president even if the candidate had won the popular vote.

Elections are a key element of democracy. Elections should be appreciated and respected by any person who desires to call himself or herself a citizen of his or her nation. Although the United States and the Republic of Paraguay have important differences between their election procedures and voting systems, they both have developed them to suit their necessities and represent the desires of the people in the best possible way.

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