Electing a President

President Qualifications
  1. The president has to be a natural born citizen.
  2. He has to be 35 years of age.
  3. He also has to be a U.S. resident for 14 years.

These certain qualifications were thought of by the founding fathers of our country. They came up with these qualifications because they felt that you should be an American. They wanted to keep some of the ideas the same from the Constitutional Convention and were in a way prejudice. They were prejudice, because in a way they had formed different levels of Americans, and were pointed to some of the other immigrants that came to America.

Many people thought that electing a president was very easy. They thought that all you had to do was go to the voting booth, and vote for the president himself. In reality, the average citizen does not vote directly for the president themselves! The founding fathers did not trust the average person with such a great responsibility. You are actually voting for electors, who have promised to vote for a certain person who is running for president. That still means that the ballot says the two candidates who are running, but the electors chosen from your state is the actually the voter.

The electors do not have to vote for who they said they would, but they have an agreement with the state government. They do have the right to change there vote, but if there is a majority vote they still have the right even though they should trust the people and vote for the majority.

There are many steps in how a President is elected:
  • Each state political party chooses electors from that party as a special privilege to represent the people in voting based on the popular vote
  • All the electors from the party are called the slate
  • Each state has the same number of electors as it has representatives and senators. For example, Colorado has nine members of congress, so they have nine people on the democratic slate of electors, and nine people on the republican slate of electors
  • On Election Day, which is always the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, voters in each state votes for electors to represent them in voting for president. For example, if I were to vote for George Bush, then I would really be voting for the elector who is voting for George Bush
  • The average citizen does NOT vote directly for the President
  • The District of Columbia also has three electoral votes
  • The total amount of electoral votes is 538. (100 senators, 435 House of Representatives, 3 votes from the District of Columbia)
  • The electors submit their votes to Congress, and the winner is announced in early December. (We usually know before then because everyone follows the campaigning but the candidate that won the presidential election is formally announced in December.)
  • The winner of the popular vote in each state is typically awarded all the electoral votes from each state. For example, in Colorado, if five million of the people vote for George Bush, and one million vote for John Kerry, then all the electors pledged to vote for George Bush would go to vote. The only two states who do not follow this guideline are Nebraska and Maine
  • An elector who is pledged to vote for a certain person can change their mind at the vote. For example, if an elector promised to vote for Bush, they could still change their vote and vote for the opposite candidate, another person that isn't running at all or a made up character (like Mickey Mouse).
  • The number of electoral votes to win a presidency is 270. This is a simple majority, being only one vote over half
  • If no one vote receives a majority of electoral votes, which the vote goes to the House of Representatives and they decide who will be the next president.

A Natural Born Citizen

A lot of people today think that a natural born citizen means that you have to actually be born in the U.S. The only problem is that there is no actual account from the past that shared what a natural born citizen is. The Constitution never fully established what it meant to be a natural born citizen. Nowadays, we have defined a natural born citizen as someone that is born on American soil. If someone was to be born of two American parents in another country but on a United States military base, that would be included as American soil and therefore, that person would be a natural born citizen.

But this is only what we have defined it as today. The founding fathers didn't specify what a natural born citizen is, so we don't really know. It hasn't even come up in a court case to determine who is a natural born citizen and who isn't. It would be a very interesting court topic.

Presidency Terms

The president is settled into his house on Inauguration Day, which is on January 20th, unless it is a Sunday, on which it would be the next day (January 21st). Also, a president has a total of two terms to serve in office. Each term is a total of four years. The only way in which a president could serve any longer is if a president dies in the middle of a term or later. Then, if there is less than two years left in the term, the vice president has the legibility to serve the rest of the time left in the previous president's term. The rest of this term is not considered to be included as one of the new president's terms. In this way, it is possible for a president to serve for a maximum total of around ten years.

Priamaries and Caucuses

Electing a president is a very long process. The first step is to have the Primaries and Caucuses. In these elections, party members are to vote for the candidate they want to be represented in the general election. There are many people who want to be president and each person has their own ideas about different situations and how our government should work. Some of these people might be in the same political party. That’s why we have primaries, and caucuses.

Primary: Primaries are open to all legal voters. The voting is done in a secret ballot. There are two types of primaries, open and closed. Closed primaries means that the voter can only vote for a candidate in the party which they registered for. (Democrat or Republican) An open primary means that the voter can vote for either party, but only one.
Caucus: Caucuses are little meetings, open to all voters of that party. Here delegates to the party’s national convention are selected. When the caucus begins voters split into different groups, depending on the delegate they support. The undecided voters as well form their own group, while others try to persuade them to vote for the candidate they want. Voters are invited to give speeches within theirs groups. When the caucus is over, the party organizers count the number of people in each group and calculate how many delegates to the country convention each candidate has won.