Like every other American, Jack Bonner was ready to vote for their next president this past November. For those who doesn’t understand how your vote counts, Jack Bonner is here to explain how the American electoral system works. This is great information to be aware of so we can educate the next generation on how it works. It also gives others a glimpse of our political systems in the most important election for our country.
An election for President of the United States occurs every four years on Election Day, held the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The 2016 Presidential election was held on November 8. The election process begins with the primary elections and caucuses and moves to nomination conventions, during which each political party selects a nominee. The nominee also announces a Vice Presidential running mate at this time. The candidates then campaign across the country to explain their views and plans to voters and participate in debates with candidates from other parties.
During the general election, Americans head to the polls to cast their vote for President. But the tally of those votes—the popular vote—does not determine the winner. Unlike in other U.S. elections, the President and Vice President are not elected directly by the people. Instead, they’re chosen by “electors” through a process called the Electoral College. The idea of using electors is based on the Constitution. The nation’s founders saw it as a compromise between electing the President by a popular vote among citizens and electing the President in Congress.
To win the election, a candidate must receive a majority of the electoral votes. In the event no candidate receives the majority, the House of Representatives chooses the President and the Senate chooses the Vice President. In the rare event that no candidate gets the needed 270 electoral votes, the decision would go to the House of Representatives, who would vote to elect the new President from among the top three candidates. A similar process would take place in the Senate to elect the Vice President from among the top two candidates. Once the President and Vice president have been decided, it’s time to inaugurate the newly elected officials. The Vice-President-elect is sworn in first, and repeats the oath of office in use since 1884. Around noon, the President-elect is sworn in and recites the oath in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.