Elections in the United Sates | How to Become President

Presidential elections are held every four years. As citizens of the United States, students will someday have the privilege of voting for a president. It is important for students to learn about the election process of the president in the government of the United States of America.

Student Activities for How to Become President

Essential Questions for Becoming the President

  1. What is the complete process for becoming President?
  2. What qualifications does a person need to become President?
  3. What impact can a President’s actions have on a country?
  4. Why is it important to choose a good candidate for the Presidency?

Qualifications for the Presidency

The process of electing a president was set up in the U.S. Constitution. Article II Section I, clause 3, of the Constitution states the three Constitutional qualifications that are necessary for a president to take office.

According to the Constitution, qualifications for presidency are as follows:

  • The candidate must be at least 35 years old.
  • The candidate must be a natural born citizen of the United States.
  • The candidate must be a resident of the United States for fourteen years.

The Presidential Election Process

1. Primaries and Caucuses

People have different ideas and opinions about how a government should work. People that have similar ideas belong to the same political party. The main parties are the Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, and Green Parties. People that want to be president need to meet the qualifications. They campaign around the country and compete with other candidates to win their party’s nomination. When there is a caucus, members of the party discuss candidates in their party and vote for the candidate they think will be the best.

To become a major party’s presidential nominee, candidates must go through the primary process in every state. Primaries are elections held by political parties in most states to narrow the field of candidates seeking the nomination to one. During the primaries, members of the party vote in a state election.

2. National Conventions and General Elections

When the primaries and caucuses are finished, each of the major parties holds a national convention where the presidential nominee is chosen. Throughout the United States, these chosen candidates will campaign to win the support of the people. On the day of the election, people in all the states cast their vote.

3.The Electoral College and the Inauguration of the President

A group of people called electors for each state, are supposed to vote in the Electoral College for the candidate that the majority of people in their state voted for. Each state has a certain number of electors. The number of electors is equal to the number of senators and representatives in congress. There are 538 electors in the College and each elector has one vote. The candidate who attains 270 votes or more is the winner of the election.

The newly elected president and vice president are formally admitted to public office at the inauguration in January. The inauguration is a ceremony where the president takes the oath of office before assuming the position in a new four year term.

Note: The president and vice president are not elected directly by citizens, they are elected by the chosen electors in each state, through the Electoral College process.

The activities in this guide will increase student knowledge of the election process and the process of becoming a President. The activities will reinforce prior knowledge about the history of the United States. Students will gain new knowledge and insight into the election process and the effects of the actions of a President on the United States.

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