How Presidential Elections Work in the US

 

In a democratic country, the presidential elections are held every 4 years. A candidate that receives the majority of votes wins, and gets to lead the country for the next 4 years, until the next elections. If the candidate wins again, that’s another 4 years, after which he or she must retire. However, in the US this is a bit different, given how you are a president of multiple states, not a single country. Here we will go over the presidential election process and help you understand how the winner is determined in the US.   

Qualification criteria 

First of all, let us go over the necessary qualification to even become a presidential candidate in the United States. Basically, there are 3 main requirements that one must fulfil in order to run for president. 

  1. You need to be a natural-born citizen – meaning that regardless of your parents’ citizenship or nationality, you can run for president so long as you are born on US soil. 
  2. You need to be 35 years old at least.
  3. You need to be a US resident for 14 years at least.

Party Approval

The two main parties in the US are Republicans and Democrats, but much like in any other democratic country there are others. If you want to run for president you must be an elected representative of that party. So in a way, there are elections for the candidate before the actual presidential election. In the event you are chosen as a party nominee, it will be up to you to decide who gets to be the vice president if you win the election. 

Once a nominee is selected, they usually travel throughout the states in order to win the favor of the citizens. They hold speeches, events, build or restore buildings, roads, etc. over the course of their campaign.

Once the campaign is over they all have to wait until the votes are counted on election day.  

Electoral College

The United States presidential race adheres to a so-called Electoral College system. Meaning, a candidate with the most votes does not necessarily win. The system basically allows citizens to vote for congressional representatives, called “electors.” Once electors are established they get to cast the vote for president, and the candidate with the most electoral votes becomes the president.

In order to win the majority, a candidate must get 270 electoral votes. Generally, the winners are announced in mid-November, because that is when the elections take place. However, the actual electoral election happens in mid-December, because that is when chosen electoral will meet in their respective state.

It is extremely rare the electoral colleagues don’t follow the popular vote, which is why people tend to celebrate in mid-November when election results are in. 

In other words, the winners become official only then, and in January, the president-elect, along with the vice-president, go to take an oath in the oval office and are inaugurated. So, this was a simplified version of the US presidential elections, hopefully, it is a bit more clear now, how the president is elected.