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How is the American President elected?

Civics | 7-14 yrs | Interactive

Requirements to become President of the United States

The American constitution states that the presidential candidate should be –

  • 35 years of age
  • A United States of America resident for 14 years
  • A ‘natural born citizen’ of the United States of America

Voting rights in the United States

The government of the United States of America, gives the right to every person over the age of 18 to vote. Voting is considered not just a right, but also a privilege and a big responsibility.

Political parties in the United States

The two main political parties in the United States are the Republican and Democratic Parties. Members of both the parties have different views on different issues related to the country. It is a good thing as different sides of important issues get discussed and voted on.

How do candidates take part in the elections?

A presidential candidate first makes an official announcement that he or she is running for president. Then, he/she files papers with the federal elections commission, which controls the election process. Candidates usually make these announcements atleast a year before the presidential election. This is done to ensure enough time for the election campaigns.

Canvassing of votes for President

Once the candidates file their names for the election, they make an endeavour to remain in the public eye. This process is known as election campaigns or canvassing. The candidates try to convince voters to vote for them. They give elaborate public speeches and tell people about their agendas and what reforms will they introduce upon getting elected. They also run advertisements on TV, distribute buttons, and have debates to let the citizens know why they are the best candidate for the job.

How is the President elected?

The American President is elected by the Electoral College. The American President is elected according to the process of the Electoral College. The citizens of the US do not directly elect the President. People actually vote for an elector from their state, and these electors then vote for President.

Each state has a specific number of delegates in the Electoral College based on the population of the state. Once all the votes are in, the candidate who wins the majority of electoral votes, becomes the President. There are 538 total electors in the United States and a total of 270 electoral votes is required to win the presidential election.

How are votes counted?

After the polls close on the day of the election, the process of counting the votes begins. Each state has a different method to collect and tabulate ballots. Some are electronic, while others are paper-based. The votes are counted in a joint session of Congress.

What are primary elections or caucuses?

When the elections are on, the people in the United States gather to show their support for different candidates. Such gatherings are known as the primary elections or caucuses. During the primary elections, the voters get ballots having a list of the names of the candidates running for president. They go to a polling booth and vote for their favourite candidate.

What is a swing state?

In American politics, the term swing state implies to any state that could be easily won by either the Democratic or Republican presidential candidate. These states are usually targeted by both the major fighting political parties.

5 Interesting facts about the United States Presidential Elections

  1. Earlier only white men over the age of 21 were allowed to vote in the United States of America, but it was changed later on and now everyone over 18 years of age can vote regardless of race or gender.
  2. The process of voting is extremely important for the democratic countries as by way of voting people get to have their say in the government.
  3. The first automatic voting machine was invented in 1898.
  4. Other political parties in the USA are Reform, Green, Natural Law, and Libertarian.
  5. The major swing states in the United States are Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
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