Presidential elections take place every four years in the United States. The presidential nominee will mostly be from the two major parties, Republican and Democratic. A seven-month-long election campaign will begin when the two parties have elected their president and vice president candidates. Along with the candidates from the major parties, a few candidates from minor parties are also on the ballot. The election is held on the first Tuesday of November.
To contest a Presidential election in the U.S., one needs to match with three representatives:
- Be 35 years of age or old
- Born citizen of the U.S.
- Lived in the states for more than 14 years
Out of all these, if the President is elected, they can only serve the term for two years. They cannot be elected thrice.
The U.S. is divided into 50 states, and each state has a certain number of electoral votes decided by the population. 538 votes are split between these 50 states, and the presidential candidate who gets the most electoral votes wins the election. A candidate can win the election by getting the majority of votes compared to another candidate.
Winner has it
With this kind of electoral system, a candidate may win the most popular vote but not become the President. Despite getting more popular votes, there are chances for the opponent to become the President. It has already happened five times in history.
The last it happened was in the 2016 election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Although Clinton won the popular vote with 48% of all the votes while Trump got 45,9%, Clinton was assigned only 232 electoral votes. Trump was assigned 306 electoral votes and was elected as the President.
What if nobody gets the majority of votes?
If no candidate receives the majority of votes, voting continues in the second round. For both Democrats and Republicans, superdelegates can participate in the vote. They will discuss and vote for a specific candidate. However, by this principle, it is convinced that the ultimate vote will be from the convention itself, not the people. This voting process keeps repeating until one candidate gets the majority of votes and is officially appointed as the President.
After the election day
Congress houses come together on January 6th to count the electoral votes. Then, they will declare the President and Vice President for the term. If the candidates get the same number of votes, the House elects the President, and the Senate elects Vice President.
On January 20th, the president-elect will officially be sworn in as President of the United States of America at an inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C. The President is then sent to the White House, the President’s official residence. They can live in it during the presidential term.