Day 57: 3,000 Little Elections

The November election is actually some three-thousand little elections. That’s roughly how many counties the United States has. Elections are organized and run at the county level, under the supervision of state and local election officials, using procedures that rival Democrats and Republicans have worked out over hundreds of years.

It’s the very decentralized yet sophisticated character of American voting that’s got the unpopular incumbent president, Donald Trump, running scared. Last time around, spoilers and a shrewd assessment of the electoral map propelled Trump to a legitimate victory over the more popular but complacent Hillary Clinton. Now, having alienated Americans with his crassness and criminality, Trump wants desperately to discourage and cow all of us individual voters, whose sentiments are destined to flow through our ballots and aggregate into those carefully counted county-level returns.

The county totals determine which candidate will be awarded the electoral votes of the state. Electoral votes are proportionate to a state’s population, but only active voters determine which candidate walks off with them.

You must be registered to vote if you want to make Biden president in 2020! Take the first step by visiting This is a non-partisan, bilingual website sponsored by the National Association of Secretaries of State (i.e., the pertinent officials in all fifty states). No matter where you live, this website can direct you toward state-specific voting information that you need. Use it to check whether you are registered, to find your polling place, or obtain the forms needed for early / absentee voting. One can even use it to sign up to become an election worker. It’s super-convenient.

As a resident of Chicago, I’ll be voting in Cook County, Illinois. Clicking through the CanIVote website takes me right to the Illinois State Board of Elections page, where I can find all the deadlines for registration and early voting, review my options for voting in-person, and read the directions for voting by mail. Voting is more complicated than usual this year because of the pandemic, so it’s essential to learn everything one can about the location specific parameters, before this momentous election season begins.

Image: “Map of the USA with county outlines”
adapted by Wapcaplet from a US Census Bureau map,
from this source.