As U.S. citizens, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves about our vote. Don’t count on one source of information, as all information, even historical data are biased in some way. Read and educate yourself from many sources. Compare this with your own experiences. Education in combination with your own experiences is critical to becoming a well-informed individual.
Now, back to the topic. The U.S. political system is fraught with confusion for the average American, and understandably so. Our educational system spends little time on the practical application of politics compared to the amount of time spent on ideology. The end result is that the average American is unaware of the many entities involved in the U.S. Presidential election and why. The average American is unaware that the President is elected by electors, not by popular (citizen) vote.
Actually, there are many entities involved in electing a U.S. President, and it is important to understand their impact, including our own. Electing a President in the U.S. involves more than the direct application of democracy, it is about indirect-democracy, a principle adopted by our founding fathers to address individual and state’s rights while maintaining democratic principles for the nation at large. They knew it would be not be easy, but it is worth the effort to maintain a great nation.
Who are these ‘entities’ and what is their impact on our vote? These include citizens, candidates, party leaders, local and state representatives, electors, party delegates, and the House of Representatives. Of course there are many other behind-the-scenes party affiliates and lobbyists who also work to get their party reps, delegates and electors chosen in anticipation of the final election for President.
Does your head ache just thinking about it? Mine does! There is so much information and so many opinions and perspectives regarding our political system, it can be difficult to make sense of it all – but it can be done, one step at a time. And I found a site that helps.
ProCon.org is a “nonprofit nonpartisan public charity that provides well-sourced pro, con, and related research on more than 50 controversial issues …” including information on current national elections. I came across this site during the 2012 election, but after the election, it was relegated to a link in the depths of my Favorites list – until today. Take a look, visit other sites (links below), dig out your old history books, keep up with the candidates and how they will deal with your favorite issues, and VOTE.
Why does it matter you may ask, because every vote counts. Every vote in every local, every state, and every national election adds up and leads up to the Presidential election.
2016 Presidential Election: The Candidates and Where They Stand on the Issues
2016 Democratic National Convention
2016 Republican National Convention
5 Things You May Not Know About U.S. Political Conventions
Do You Understand the Electoral College?
Electoral College – History.com video
How Do Different States Allocate Their Electoral Votes?
How Political Party Convention Delegates are Chosen
How the Electoral College Works
How to Become the US President: A Step-by-Step Guide and poster
- U.S. Citizen announces intention to run for President
- Primary Candidate raises campaign funds and campaigns for popular vote and party election
- States’ party leaders (typically members of congress) elect Electors at district or state levels or party conventions (varies by state and based on previous local and state elections – individual voter rights)
- States run primary elections or caucuses by political party (states’ rights)
- Party leaders choose delegates for party conventions (supposed to secure pledges for nominations)
- Delegates nominate Presidential candidate at party convention; Presidential candidate announces running mate, the Vice Presidential candidate (supposed to support voting to-date, but delegates may not be required to vote as pledged)
- Presidential candidates campaign for Presidential election (unites parties behind a candidate)
- U.S. Citizens cast ballots in the Presidential/general election as popular vote by state – this determines party Electors (confirms voters’ preference by state)
- Electors cast ballots for President (Electors are not required to vote as pledged, though most of the time they do)
– IF no candidate receives the majority of electoral votes …
- House of Representatives elects President; and the Senate elects the Vice President – each state gets one vote in both cases.
Presidential Election Process
The Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation: The Constitution Before the Constitution
The Popular Vote vs. the Electoral College
The Top 10 Political Conventions That Mattered the Most
U.S.A. Declaration of Independence
Understanding U.S. Political Conventions
Who are the Electors?
Contact your state political party for additional information.