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The US Election Process

In the United States the president and vice president are the only government officials elected in a nationwide election. Contrary to popular belief, the president and vice president are not elected directly by the American people but by an electoral college which is a group of electors chosen within each state. The framers of the Constitution decided that through the electoral college they would be able to prevent voting corruption. The electors can use their own discretion in voting for a candidate but most electors pledge to support a party’s candidate and base their vote on the popular vote in their state. This system makes it possible for candidates to win an election by winning the majority of the electoral vote even if they receive fewer popular votes than their opponents. So when one goes to the polls and selects their ballot for president, he is actually voting for electors. It is then the electors who will cast the votes and decide who will be the next US president and vice president. In order to vote in a US election a person must be a US citizen over the age of 18. To run for the US presidency, the Constitution states that a person must be a natural-born citizen of the US who is at least 35 years old and has resided in the US for 14 years. Election day is held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The nation will know who has won the election by that evening or by the next morning. However the electoral college does not formally cast their ballots until they meet in each state on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. Even though the president and vice president are elected in November, they will not take office until after the inauguation ceremony which is held on January 20th.


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