How does the United States of America elect its President?

Can anyone tell me the procedure for electing our President?

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The Founders can tell you exactly how to do it in Article II of the Constitution.

    Essentially what happens is this:

    Step 0. The whole primary process...I'll skip this since it isn't really in the Constitution, is largely up to the parties, and you've just seen it in action.

    1. You go to the polls and vote on election day (or before if your state allows early voting). Officially, election day is always the first Tuesday following the first Monday of November. Here you vote for a slate of electors, NOT for your candidate. This is known as an "indirect election."

    It will look like you are voting for your candidate, but you are not. You are voting for the men and women who will "officially" go vote for him or her for you.

    (Here's an example. This is the infamous "butterfly ballot" from Florida in 2000 that gave so many people problems. Notice what is written on the far left about electors: )

    2. The state elections office tallies the votes. The candidate who wins the simple numerical majority of the vote in each state wins all of that state's electoral votes.

    This is true in all but 2 states where they divvy their electoral votes up to match the proportions of the vote totals in their state. States can decide for themselves how to handle their electors, however, at this point in history dividing them greatly weakens a state's influence so most don't do it.

    2b. Each state is partitioned a certain number of electoral votes. The number of votes are based on the total number of House and Senate representatives that state has. So, no state has less than 3 electoral votes (as all states have 2 Senators and at least 1 Representative) and some states have as many as 50+.

    Thus, large population states have large electoral voting blocs. The specific numbers for each state change every time the House lines are redrawn following each census.

    2c. This is why you can have someone win the popular vote and lose the election. If you get the popular vote total, but not the electoral vote total, you lose. Electoral votes are all that count in the end.

    Let's take two states: New York and Texas (I'm making up numbers to prove the point; each state actually has far more electoral votes).

    Let's say in New York Candidate A gets 1 million votes. Candidate B gets 1 vote. Candidate A thus wins all 25 of New York's Electoral votes.

    In Texas, Candidate A gets 1 million votes again. Candidate B gets 1 million and 1 votes. Candidate B win all of Texas's 26 electoral votes.

    Now you total up the votes. Candidate A has 2 million "popular" votes. Candidate B has 1 million and 2 popular votes, some 999,998 behind Candidate A. However, Candidate B has 26 electoral votes to Candidate A's 25, so Candidate B technically wins the election.

    2d. Electors are selected months before the national voting day. Again, each state does this differently; there is no set method. Some do it on primary day (where the voters vote for electors), some do it at conventions, and others allow the candidate's campaign committee to hand select their own electors.

    3. On a set day (technically the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December), the electors all convene in their respective state capitols. Here they cast two votes: one for President and a separate one for Vice President.

    4. These votes are tallied and the candidate with the majority vote (50% +1 vote) for President becomes the President-elect and the candidate with the majority vote for V.P. becomes the V.P.-elect.

    To win you MUST have 50%+1 of the vote. If there are three people with electoral votes and one got 15%, one got 40%, and one got 45%, no one would be in a winning position.

    4a. In most cases, electors are free to vote for whomever they want to vote for. Since electors are usually party high-ups and bigwigs, they generally vote for who they are supposed to vote for. However, every now and then and elector may decide to vote for someone else. These are known as "faithless electors" because they broke the faith of their party. There have been faithless electors on several occasions, but they have never changed the outcome of the election. This is why the media can tell you the outcomes on your voting night, on the assumption that the electors you just voted for will vote as they are supposed to) even though the electors do not cast the official votes for 6 more weeks.

    4b. Technically, if states allowed the voters to vote for the President and Vice President separately, since the electors vote on the positions separately, you could have a President from one party and a V.P. from another.

    4c. The Constitution is full of what to do if there is a tie or no one wins a majority of votes (see the 15, 40, 45 example above). In fact, that has happened several times in history and the House and Senate had to decide who was to be President.

    5. Then, on Janu

    Source(s): The US Constitution
  • 1 decade ago

    Everyone with an opinion polarizes and a bunch of evil preachers bullshit their congregations into voting based on wedge issues, against their own best interest.

    Then the 20% that is undecided and most misinformed watches 15 minutes of sound bytes for the two weeks before the election and votes based on that.....usually based on how the candidate looks, how the candidate's wife came off on Oprah or something the candidate never actually said (but the email was funny).

    Then electoral votes are awarded by each state, giving a disproportionate share to backwater hick states where a bunch of self hating people jack off to Toby Keith.. This archaic system makes it easier to steal elections, especially if your brother is the governor or if the DMV/Election chairwoman looks like the dude from Twisted Sister and wears too much makeup.

  • 1 decade ago

    Each state has what is called electorial votes. Some states have more than others. The candidate who gets the most votes from that state gets the electorial votes from that state. Then the one with the most electorial votes wins. Also, they have to get so many electorial votes to win, which usually happens. This years election proves to be another close one.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    people vote, that count is counted up and used as a popular vote

    this popular vote is supposed to persuade the vote for the electoral college. This in turn chooses the president.

    thats about the skinny of it with little to 0 detail.

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  • 1 decade ago

    If we were a true democracy it would be by the number of votes the candidate received, and if it were the case, Bush would not be the current President.

  • bda52
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    For the last 2 elections you will have to ask Karl Rove.

  • 1 decade ago

    The candidate must win the electoral votes.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Nobody is flooding Japan with tens of millions of non-Japanese to the point where the Japanese are destined to become a minority, condemning as "yellow supremacists" all Japanese who have a problem with this, and then saying that Japan is a "post-racial society." Nobody is flooding Nigeria with non-blacks to the point where the blacks are destined to become a minority in their own country, calling all Nigerians who oppose this "black-supremacist racists" and then saying that Nigeria is a "post-racial society." This is only done in white countries. Only their governments are doing it. Only their media and education system condition people from childhood not to oppose it. Only white people are expected to view their disappearance from the planet as a positive thing. It is genocide.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Whoever can make the most sense with the easiest answers. 20% of us give a sh!t to do research to support our political ideology, the other 80% go on nightly news soundbites and convention speeches and think it's the truth. Therefore, detailed answers to complex issues take a backseat to easily remembered catch phrases,

  • the electoral College

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