Does the federal government have a role in the vote?

Credit: CNN

What is the role of the federal government in elections? The federal government has very little role in the elections that choose who is going to run it.

Posted: Oct 27, 2020 6:01 AM
Updated: Oct 27, 2020 8:51 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — What is the role of the federal government in elections?

The federal government has very little role in the elections that choose who is going to run it.

Elections are run at the local level and supervised by states. The federal government can help fund elections and set certain standards – such as the requirement that people can register to vote when getting drivers’ licenses – through federal law.

And of course Washington DC plays a big role in monitoring foreign actors to make sure they don’t interfere in elections. But the actual machinery of democracy is run at the state and local level.

Here's how it breaks down:

State and local jurisdictions…

  • Register voters
  • Set election rules
  • Administer elections
  • Tabulate votes
  • Assign electors for Electoral College

While the federal role is to…

  • Enforce civil rights laws
  • Monitor for foreign election interference
  • Ensure compliance with federal campaign finance laws
  • Count/Certify Electoral College votes

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