On Display: Democracy 101: American Elections and How They Work

Welcome to primary season!  

While Election Day isn’t until November 3rd, the election process starts much earlier. On February 3rd, the first of the party primary elections and caucuses kicked off in Iowa. Other states will be holding their party primaries throughout the spring. Massachusetts primary voters will be heading to the polls on Super Tuesday – March 3rd.  

But wait – what is a primary? What is a caucus? What is Super Tuesday? How does this whole thing work? 

Head to the Bentley Library to see our latest display: “Democracy 101: American Elections and How They Work”. This display pulls together materials that can help answer those questions and more with a focus on presidential elections. Topics covered in the book selections include primaries and caucuses, campaign finance, public opinion polling, voter behavior, political parties, historical election results, and everything else you might want to know about the American electoral process. You’ll also be able to find some feature films and documentaries about both real and fictional U.S. elections! 

Research. Register. Vote.

We know that for many of our Bentley students this may be your first time voting in a presidential election. Here are some tips: 

  • Research. Research the candidates and different positions to see which candidate you might want to vote for. And don’t forget, this election isn’t just about electing a president – there are elections for Congress, state elections, and your local elections. There may also be different ballot measures that you may be asked to vote on.  
  • Register. Each state has its own rules regarding registration deadlines and how you can register. You’ll want to make sure that you’re all set to vote prior to election day. Check your state’s Secretary of State website or Election Office website for information. The Office of the Registrar here at Bentley offers Voter Registration Information as well.  
  • Vote. Know before election day where your polling place is and when you can vote. Some states offer early voting. For those of you who may not be able to get to your polling place on Election Day, you may need to request an Absentee or Mail-In Ballot. Check your state’s voter information website to find out the process. 

Still want to know more? 

Check out our American Political Elections Research Guide with some Election 2020 specific resources that will get updated throughout the year as we get closer to Election Day.