When is the US presidential election? Everything you need to know about the 2024 race

The race for the 2024 US presidential election is heating up
The race for the 2024 US presidential election is heating up
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The race for the White House in 2024 is quickening with presidential hopefuls beginning to ramp up their campaigns in the hope of securing a party nomination.

As things stand, it seems likely next year’s election will be a rerun of 2020 with Donald Trump hoping to reverse his defeat by Joe Biden.

But despite both men polling way ahead of their rivals, there is little enthusiasm among voters for either candidate.

A YouGov poll in August showed that 54 per cent of voters disapproved of Mr Biden and 58 per cent disapproved of Mr Trump.

Mr Biden’s critics say he is too old to run for office given he will be 81 by the next election. As a result of his son’s controversial business dealings, the president is also in danger of being mired in scandal, albeit by association.

Mr Trump, who will be 78 when voters go to the polls, is facing a series of criminal indictments with several cases due to go to court during the height of the election campaign.

There is no doubt the 2024 election contest is set to be an exciting race. Below, The Telegraph lays out everything we know so far.

When is the next US election?

The 2024 US election day is due to be held on Tuesday, Nov 5 2024.

Under Article II of the US Constitution, the winner will serve four years in the White House.

It will be the 60th quadrennial election and the first one since the 2020 census reapportionment - also known as redistricting.

Redistricting refers to the redrawing of the boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts. Occurring every decade, it happens post-census to reflect any changes in the population.

Joe Biden
Mr Biden’s critics say he is too old to run for office given he will be 81 by the next election - EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/REUTERS

As a result of the 2020 census the make-up of the electoral college, which formally chooses the president, has changed.

Texas has gained two electoral votes, while Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon each gained one. California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia each lost one.

What is the electoral college?

While voters are in theory selecting their choice for president, in reality, they are choosing delegates for the electoral college.

All 50 US states and Washington DC have a set number of electors in the electoral college, roughly proportional to the size of the state.

Each state gets at least three electoral votes because the amount is equal to its total number of senators and representatives in the US Congress. Washington DC also gets three electoral college votes, meaning a total of 538 electors form the electoral college.

All but two states, Maine and Nebraska, use a winner-takes-all system - which means that if a candidate wins the most votes in a state, they could take its entire haul of electoral college votes.

Donald Trump
Mr Trump has insisted that he will continue his campaign even if arrested - Alex Brandon/AP

In order to become president, either candidate needs to win a majority of the 538 electors - so 270.

In July 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled that electors must follow the popular vote in states that have passed such a law.

Critics have questioned the electoral college system which does not guarantee the candidate with the most votes gets to the White House.

For example, in 2016 Hillary Clinton won 48.2 per cent of the vote and Donald Trump 46.1 per cent. But as he won more states, he was elected president.

How do parties choose their candidate?

The first stage of the 2024 elections will see the two main political parties select their presidential candidates.

Some states go to the polls in primary elections to choose delegates for the party convention. Other states rely on the caucus system where party members gather in precincts and debate who should be the candidate before choosing delegates accordingly.

There are differences between the parties. The Republicans hold a secret ballot in caucuses, while the Democrats form groups and hold a succession of votes, with candidates who get less than 15 per cent of votes dropping out, and their supporters picking an alternative.

While states pay for primary elections, the parties pick up the bill for caucus meetings.

Delegates then gather at their national convention to nominate the presidential candidates. In recent elections, this has been a formality. The last contested convention was in 1976 when amid chaotic scenes when Gerald Ford fought off a challenge from Ronald Reagan.

What is Super Tuesday?

“Super Tuesday” is when 15 states hold primaries or caucuses to select their 2024 candidates.

It is often make or break for candidates. In 2020 it helped Joe Biden take a massive step towards the nomination after Elizabeth Warren split the Left-wing vote, much to the fury of supporters of Bernie Sanders.

What happens on election day?

The majority of voters go to the polls and ballots are counted. Many people may have already cast their vote ahead of time using the postal voting system or early voting.

Votes are counted in each state after their respective polls close. Poll close times vary from state to state. The winner of the election will likely not be projected for days. Even then, the results are not finalised properly for months.

What are the key battleground states?

Focus will be on the states where the results were challenged by Mr Trump in the 2020 election.

Experts have predicted that Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin and Nevada will be the key four states. However, nothing is set in stone.

Florida and Ohio, once considered marginal, are now safe Republican territory.

What happened in 2020?

In 2020 Mr Trump refused to accept defeat and contested the election results in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia.

His challenges were repeatedly dismissed out of hand by the courts, paving the way for the storming of the Capitol on January 6 by his supporters.

Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6 2021
Demonstrators breached security and entered the Capitol on January 6 2021 - SAUL LOEB/AFP

Mr Trump piled pressure on Mike Pence, his vice president, to refuse to ratify the results. Mr Pence insisted he could not, and would not, intervene in the ceremonial process.

Had the rioters physically prevented Mr Pence from confirming the result, the decision may have been left with the congressional delegations, where the Republicans had a majority.

Can Trump run if indicted or convicted?

Yes. The Constitution does not bar a natural-born citizen over 35 from running for the White House.

The former president has insisted that he will continue his campaign even if arrested.

In 1920 Eugene Debs ran for president on behalf of the Socialist Party despite serving 10 years for three counts of violating the Espionage and Sedition Acts.

He even ran his campaign from his prison cell at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, with the authorities allowing him to issue a weekly political statement to the press.

There is one caveat. The 14th Amendment, passed after the Civil War, contains a clause barring anyone who “engaged in insurrection” from office.

What are the polls showing?

In the Republican primary race, Mr Trump is currently the standout candidate, commanding around 60 per cent of support according to polling aggregator FiveThirtyEight. Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, once seen as a strong challenger, has seen his polling numbers slump as the race progresses to around 13 per cent. Meanwhile, Nikki Haley has seen a boost in the polls and is hovering around 10 per cent.

For the Democrats, Mr Biden has a commanding lead over the race without any serious challenger for the party nomination. However, a third-party bid from challenger Robert F Kennedy Jr has worried some Democrats who fear it could siphon away votes from Mr Biden in the general election.

It appears likely that the 2024 race will be a rerun of Mr Biden against Mr Trump. However, there is still plenty of time for another GOP candidate to shake up the race.

In the overall presidential race, the election appears to be on a knife edge, with a NYT / Siena College poll taken in early November showing Mr Trump leading Mr Biden in five of six critical states - likely enough for the Republican to win.

What are some of the key dates?


Aug 23

First Republican candidates debate was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Sep 27

Second Republican debate was held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute in Simi Valley, California.


Jan 15 

The Iowa caucuses meet, a gathering which will give an early indication of how the candidates are faring.

New Hampshire would normally be the first primary, but the timetable has been thrown into chaos because the Democratic National Committee wants South Carolina to start things off.

March 5

“Super Tuesday”. Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia all hold caucuses.

July 15

Republicans gather for a three-day convention in Milwaukee where they will choose their candidate for the White House.

Aug 19-22

The Democrats will hold their convention in Chicago, Illinois.

Nov 5

Election Day.

Dec 10

Safe Harbour Deadline. When states have to settle any disputes over who is sent to the electoral college.

Jan 6

Formal counting of votes in the Electoral College at a joint session of Congress.


Jan 20

Inauguration Day when the president-elect is sworn into office.

This article is kept updated with the latest information for the 2024 election.

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