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US Presidential Election: A Guide for New South Asian origin Citizens

Significance of Educated and Affluent South Asian Community in US Election

A guide to US Presidential Election for South Asian Origin Voters

As the United States gears up for its quadrennial presidential election, newly naturalized citizens are presented with a unique opportunity to engage in the democratic process of their adopted homeland. With the nation’s highest office at stake, understanding the election process and the significance of voting is paramount for individuals who have recently become citizens of the United States.

With nearly 5.4 million members, the South Asian ‘Desi” community holds significant potential to influence the outcome of US presidential elections. Representing diverse ancestries from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives, this community brings a wealth of perspectives and experiences to the political landscape. Registering to vote empowers South Asians to voice their concerns, advocate for their interests, and support candidates who align with their values.

South Asian Americans stand out as one of the fastest-growing, highest-earning, and most educated demographic groups in the USA. With a median household income of $120,000, they surpass the national median income of $53,889 by a significant margin.

By participating in the democratic process, they can shape policies on immigration, healthcare, education, and other issues that directly impact their lives and communities. Moreover, increased voter turnout among South Asians enhances the inclusivity and diversity of American democracy, fostering a more representative government that reflects the nation’s rich cultural tapestry.

The upcoming presidential election, scheduled for November 2024, holds immense importance not only for American citizens but also for those who have recently completed the naturalization process. For many newly minted citizens, casting their ballots for the first time symbolizes the culmination of their journey towards full participation in American civic life.

As the presidential election draws nearer, new citizens are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the candidates, their platforms, and the issues at stake. With a diverse array of candidates representing different political parties and ideologies, it is essential for voters to research and critically evaluate the policies and positions of each candidate before making an informed decision at the ballot box.

Presidential Democracy

The United States operates under a presidential democracy, a system of government characterized by a separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. In this system, the President serves as both the head of state and the head of government, wielding significant authority to execute laws, command the military, and conduct foreign affairs. The President is elected through a nationwide electoral process, where citizens vote for electors who, in turn, cast their ballots for the presidential candidates. This electoral process, combined with a system of checks and balances, ensures accountability and prevents any single branch of government from wielding unchecked power. The presidency in the United States is marked by its strong executive authority and the capacity for decisive action, tempered by constitutional constraints and the need for cooperation with the other branches of government.

The presidential election process in the United States is governed by a complex system involving primaries, caucuses, and the general election. Primaries and caucuses are held in each state to determine the nominees for the Democratic and Republican parties, while the general election pits the chosen nominees against each other, along with candidates from third-party and independent backgrounds.

For new citizens eager to exercise their newfound right to vote, understanding the logistics of voting is crucial. Each state has its own set of rules and regulations regarding voter registration, absentee ballots, and early voting. It is essential for voters to familiarize themselves with their state’s specific voting procedures and deadlines to ensure that their voices are heard on Election Day.

Registration to vote

New citizens in the United States can register to vote by obtaining a voter registration form, filling it out with their personal information and proof of citizenship, and submitting it to their local election office by mail, in person, or online. Once registered, they can participate in elections by casting their ballots at designated polling places or through absentee or early voting options.

Vote by Mail

Vote by mail, also known as absentee voting, enables eligible voters to cast their ballots remotely, typically through the postal service. It offers flexibility for individuals who may be unable to vote in person on Election Day due to reasons such as travel, illness, or other commitments. Voters can request mail-in ballots from their local election office and return them by mail or through designated drop-off locations.

Vote from Abroad

Voting from abroad, also known as overseas voting, allows U.S. citizens living outside the country to participate in federal elections. Eligible voters can request absentee ballots from their last state of residence and submit them by mail or electronically, depending on their state’s regulations. This process enables Americans living overseas to have a voice in the democratic process and contribute to shaping the nation’s leadership and policies.

In addition to casting their ballots for the next president of the United States, new citizens have the opportunity to vote for candidates running for various other offices, including members of Congress, state governors, and local officials. By participating in down-ballot races, voters can directly impact the governance of their communities and contribute to shaping the future of their adopted country.

As new citizens prepare to participate in the US presidential election, it’s essential to grasp the intricacies of the electoral process. From primaries and caucuses to TV debates and the general election, each stage plays a vital role in determining the country’s next leader.

Primaries and Caucuses: Primaries and caucuses are the initial steps in the presidential election process. Primaries are state-level elections where voters cast their ballots for their preferred candidate from their party. Caucuses, on the other hand, involve meetings where party members discuss and vote on their preferred candidate.

TV Debates: TV debates provide candidates with a platform to articulate their policies, engage in discussions, and persuade voters. These debates offer citizens an opportunity to assess the candidates’ leadership qualities, policy positions, and ability to address pressing issues facing the nation.

The General Election: The general election is the culmination of the electoral process. Held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, voters across the country cast their ballots to elect the next president of the United States. In addition to the presidential race, voters also decide on congressional, gubernatorial, and local candidates.

Two-Party System: The US has a two-party system dominated by the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. While other parties exist, these two parties have historically garnered the most support and influence. The two-party system is entrenched in US politics due to factors such as winner-takes-all elections and a political culture that favors major parties.

Independents: While the Democratic and Republican parties dominate US politics, individuals who do not align with either party are known as independents. These voters may lean towards one party or the other on specific issues but choose not to affiliate formally. Independents often play a crucial role in swing states and can sway election results.

Endorsements: Endorsements are public declarations of support for a particular candidate by individuals, organizations, or influential figures. Endorsements from prominent politicians, celebrities, interest groups, and media outlets can boost a candidate’s credibility, visibility, and voter appeal. Candidates actively seek endorsements to broaden their base of support and gain legitimacy in the eyes of voters.

Super PACs (Political Action Committees): Super PACs are independent expenditure-only committees that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to advocate for or against political candidates. Unlike traditional PACs, super PACs cannot directly contribute to candidates’ campaigns but can engage in extensive advertising, voter mobilization efforts, and issue advocacy. Super PACs play a significant role in shaping public opinion and influencing elections, often through large-scale ad campaigns and grassroots organizing.

Funding: Funding is a crucial aspect of US presidential campaigns, as candidates rely on financial resources to support their campaign activities, such as advertising, travel, staffing, and voter outreach. Funding sources include individual contributions, fundraising events, political parties, PACs, and super PACs. Candidates must comply with campaign finance laws and disclose their donors and expenditures to ensure transparency and accountability in the electoral process.

Electoral College system

Electoral votes are the votes cast by electors in the Electoral College during a presidential election. Each state is allocated a certain number of electoral votes based on its representation in Congress, determined by its total number of senators and representatives. The number of electoral votes a state has is equal to the sum of its senators and representatives in the U.S. Congress. In total, there are 538 electoral votes, with a candidate needing at least 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. The Electoral College system is used to indirectly elect the President and Vice President of the United States.

Current Nominees:

In the forthcoming general election, President Biden stands as the Democratic nominee, while former President Donald Trump represents the Republican party. Both contenders are actively engaging in campaigns, presenting their policy agendas, and connecting with voters nationwide ahead of the November election. Additionally, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has emerged as an independent candidate, while Jill Stein, the Green Party‘s presidential nominee, has also entered the race.

By understanding the primary components of the US presidential election process, new citizens can fully participate in shaping the future of their adopted country. From exercising their right to vote in primaries and caucuses to casting their ballots in the general election, new citizens play a crucial role in upholding the principles of democracy and civic engagement in the United States.

New citizens are reminded of the immense privilege and responsibility that comes with the right to vote. By actively engaging in the democratic process, individuals can honor the values of freedom, democracy, and civic duty that are fundamental to the American experience. In exercising their right to vote, new citizens not only fulfill their civic obligations but also play a vital role in shaping the trajectory of the nation for generations to come.

About the Author

Dr. Tausif Malik is a social entrepreneur, publisher, and academician, renowned for his innovative ventures. He founded and publishes The Desi BuzzGCC Startup News, Startup Berita, and Halal Biz News, amplifying entrepreneurship globally. Dr. Malik also spearheads AIMBSNHalal Angels Network, and Startup Villages, fostering startup ecosystems. His groundbreaking initiative, RiseBack.org, offers affordable edtech solutions, providing Indian university programs starting at $50 per month and professional IT courses priced at $250-$350. Through his diverse endeavors, Dr. Malik empowers individuals with access to education and opportunities.

Dr. Tausif Malik
Dr. Tausif Malik, a serial entrepreneur, academician, publisher, and editor, founder behind The Desi Buzz, GCCStartup.News, and StartupBerita.com. Notably, he is the driving force behind RiseBack.org, the world's first Affordable Education Platform (Edtech). RiseBack.org is dedicated to fostering accessible University degrees (Undergraduate & Graduate/Masters) with starting fees as low as $60 per month, collaborating with accredited Indian Universities. Dr. Tausif Malik is a firm advocate of empowerment through education and fostering development through entrepreneurship.
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