Written by Sofia Sicignano|
In the United States, voting is woven into the very fabric of our Democracy. With November 8th marking Election Day, many offices are up in the air, and it is imperative that everyone practices their civic duty, and gets out to vote.
But what offices are even running? Who are the candidates? What parties do they belong to? It all can seem quite overwhelming, but don’t fret. Here’s a clear, simple breakdown of everything you’ll need to know how to prepare for Election Day.
First of all, you need to know which offices are up for re-election. On Election day, the Presidential electors are running, as well as the United States Senators, the United States Representatives, the State Senator, the State Representatives, and the Registrar of Voters. What are each of these positions, what do they mean? Why do they matter?
Most people understand the function of the President. They have the ability to work out treaties about trade and aid to and from the United States. Appointing ambassadors to represent the U.S. in front of other countries is another role the President has. One of the most important duties is being Commander and Chief of the armed forces, and though they cannot declare war on a country without a Congress’ approval, they can send troops anywhere in the world for 60 days. Those troops must return within 30 days past those 60 days (90 days total).
The next office on the ballot is for the United States Senator. Now this can get confused with the State Senator, which is also up for election. U.S. Senators are members of the upper house of the United States Congress. There are two Senators representing each state who write and vote on laws covering the United States as a whole. State senators are members of the upper house of a state legislature. For example, the Connecticut State Legislature, which represent a district within that state, writes and votes on laws for that state/district. Here’s a helpful analogy to make the distinction clear: A state senator is to the governor of that state as a US Senator is to the President.
A similar distinction must be made for the next two offices on the ballot: Representatives in Congress and State Representatives. Congressional representatives represent individual congressional districts within a state. The legislative district has one state senator and two state representatives. State senators serve in the state senate and state representatives serve in the State House of Representatives. Both are also called state legislators. Each representative is elected to a two-year term. Among other duties, representatives introduce bills and resolutions, offer amendments, and most importantly, serve on committees. The difference between the two roles are the boundaries in which their bills apply (district wide, state wide, nation wide).
The question of candidates can be solved by glancing at the ballot for the election. The absentee ballot was sent out October 7th, and Clinton’s Town Clerk Sharon Uricchio provided me with the ballot. The ballot includes two 2015 Morgan graduates and Clinton residents:Ian Barron and Austin Coco.