On the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November, every two years, citizens of the United States cast their vote to choose their local, state, and federal government.
In 1944, businesses temporarily closed so the man on the street could have the time and focus to make their voice heard.
As a poll worker transforms a school classroom into a local voting precinct, her colleagues go through the protocol of removing any sign of political affiliation to ensure that no one side appears to be dominating the election process.
The poll workers then take an oath to defend the Constitution by overseeing a fair and uninhibited day of voting.
In America, each voter is given the privacy to make their choice privately, often behind a curtain or within a cubicle, where no other person is permitted.
In a presidential election year, voters select a president and vice president, a senator, and a congressperson, putting forward representatives of their choosing as afforded in the US Constitution.
The American government is made up of three branches, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial.
The President is the top executive of the nation, and puts forward national policies, including treaties and the conduct of foreign affairs.
He’s also the commander-and-chief of the US armed forces.
The President’s legal successor, the Vice President, is typically kept closely informed of the President’s policies, and serves as a member of his cabinet, which include the heads of the State Department, Departments of Defense, Treasury, Interior, Labor, Commerce, and others, who advise the President on policy.
Whatever the policy, it must fall within the laws as stated in the Constitution.
“For this is a government not of men, but of laws.”
Congress is the parliamentary body that makes the laws and is a separate entity from the executive branch.
Made up of two chambers, the Senate and the house of Representatives, of which both must approve any proposed law put forward.
If approved, the bill is sent to the President who can approve or veto it.
If the President signs is, it becomes law.
If the bill is vetoed, it is sent back to Congress which can overrule the President if a 2/3 majority votes to approve it.
In the Senate, each state in the Union has two elected members regardless of the size or population of the state.
The Senate deliberates on whether presidential appointments can go forward, and approves or rejects any new treaties the President wants to institute.
It is in this chamber that members express why they are for or against any matter at hand. Then the vote is cast.
The House of Representatives, or Lower House, is composed of representatives based on the population of any given state – the bigger the population, the more the Representatives.
The House determines appropriation of money for the public good, and the President with his cabinet spends this money based on the consent of Congress.
Like the President, the power of Congress is limited by the Constitution.
The third branch, the Judicial, is composed of the Supreme Court, whose members are appointed for life by the President.
The Supreme Court’s duty is protect the Constitution from overreach by the President and Congress.
By sharing power, each branch keeps a check and balance over the others.
If a majority of voters agree, the selected representatives and propositions will lead the upcoming cycle of government until the next round of elections.
As Americans line up at their local precincts, each citizen is afforded the opportunity to make their voice heard regarding what direction the nation will take.
For voters who cannot get to the polls, such as overseas military personnel or Americans living outside of the United States, an absentee ballot is provided which is sent via ground mail.
Even in the bitterest times of political partisanship, or war, consistency of the nation’s elections press onward, as seen in the heated reelection battles of Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and FDR.
In presidential election years, members of the respective parties hold conventions where they nominate the candidate who will represent their ticket for President.
In the three months leading up to the election, the various sides vigorously debate why their fellow citizens should vote one way or another.
Endorsements are made, whether from business groups or organized labor, and the people head to the polls.
After the election committees tally the votes, the result are checked and double-checked, and the results are relayed to the elections central office.
As precincts across the nation report their results, the totals are calculated.
Ultimately, the final results are announced.
In 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is reelected President of the United States of America.