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Election Day

On the federal level and in most American states, Election Day takes place the first Tuesday after the First Monday in November (November 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8). Federal elections for president, the Senate and the House of Representatives take place only in even-numbered years.

In cities and smaller communities, local elections, as for mayors, town councils and school boards, may take place at varying times of the year, and in odd-numbered years. Each locality has its own system, and every state its own procedure for electing a governor and state legislators. Many states and localities do conform to the federal Election Day for administrative convenience.

Not a federal holiday, Election Day is nevertheless a civic holiday in some states. Depending on the locality, businesses might be required to give employees time off to vote, and many American businesses do this voluntarily.

The American presidential election takes place on Election Day every four years, for example, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, etc. Every two years, all 435 members of the House of Representatives, must run for reelection to a two-year term. The hundred members of the United States Senate each serve six-year terms. The system is staggered so that each even year approximately one-third of the Senate is up for reelection. By law, the president may only serve two terms, but Senators and Representatives have no term limits.


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