The US Presidential Election Process

The election of the President of the United States of America is an indirect vote in which citizens cast ballots for a slate of members of the U.S. Electoral College. These electors cast direct votes for the President and Vice President. If both votes result in an absolute majority, the election is over. If a majority of electors do not vote for President, the House of Representatives chooses the President; if a majority of electors do not vote for Vice President, the Senate votes. Presidential elections occur quadrennially on Election Day, which since 1845 has been the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, coinciding with the general elections of various other federal, state, and local races. The process is regulated by a combination of both federal and state laws. Each state is allocated a number of Electoral College electors equal to the number of its Senators and Representatives in the U.S. Congress. Additionally, Washington, D.C. is given a number of electors equal to the number held by the least populous state. U.S. territories are not represented in the Electoral College. Under the U.S. Constitution, each state legislature is allowed to designate a way of choosing electors. Thus, the popular vote on Election Day is conducted by the various states and not directly by the federal government. In other words, it is really an amalgamation of separate elections held in each state and Washington, D.C. instead of a single national election. Once chosen, the electors can vote for anyone, but – with rare exceptions like an unpledged elector or faithless elector – they vote for their designated candidates and their votes are certified by Congress, who is the final judge of electors, in early January. The presidential term then officially begins on Inauguration Day, January 20 (although the formal inaugural ceremony traditionally takes place on the 21st if the 20th is a Sunday). This book outlines the rather complex process of electing The President of The United States of America (POTUS).