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What You Need to Know About The Election of President and Vice President

What You Need to Know About The Election of President and Vice President

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What You Need to Know About The Election of President and Vice President

The election of the President and the Vice
President is established in Article 2 of the Constitution. The procedure is
further honed by a number of Federal and State laws concerning the operation of
the election, especially in terms of the means of casting ballots and how
those ballots are counted. The system has fundamentally changed only somewhat
since its original creation with Article 2 of the Constitution, though of
course, the specific nature of each election has changed greatly as technology
advanced.

To elect the President and the Vice President,
the system employs the Electoral College.
The electors in the Electoral College cast votes directly for the
President and the Vice President. Whichever candidate receives an absolute
majority of votes, meaning over half of all the possible votes of the electors,
wins the election. The electors are, themselves, elected by each State. 

The
exact method for electing electors is determined by each State Legislature and
not by the Federal Government. This means that the popular election for
President and Vice President on Election Day is not actually an election
directly for the President or the Vice President. The number of electors that
each state may appoint is determined by adding the number of Senators that the State has to the number of Representatives of the State. No one holding a
public office, such as a Senator or a Representative, can be an elector.

The Electoral College system has changed somewhat as a result of the Twelfth
Amendment, which adjusts the methods by which a President and Vice President
are elected. In the original form of the Constitution, the Vice
President would be the Presidential candidate who received the second most
number of votes. Furthermore, this meant that electors were only voting for
President, and never for President and Vice President separately. This led to
a somewhat dysfunctional system, as Vice Presidents and Presidents might be at
odds with each other and there was the potential for a supposed Vice
Presidential candidate to be elected President. Thus, the Twelfth Amendment
altered the system such that each elector casts one vote for President and
one vote for Vice President.

If
the Electoral College votes in such a way that no candidate receives an
absolute majority of the votes, then the vote would go to the House of
Representatives, which would hold its own vote for the President. This was part
of the reason for the original implementation of the Twelfth Amendment, as the
House vote resulted in an entirely different candidate winning than either the
popular vote or electoral vote would have indicated in the election of 1800.

To
run for President, a candidate must have been a natural born citizen of the
United States and must still be a citizen at the time he or she is running.
Furthermore, the candidate must be thirty five years old at least, and must
have been a resident in the United States for fourteen years. The same criteria
apply to the Vice-President.

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