The United States Election Process Explained

8 Min Read
Election Process Graphic
Election Process Graphic

Every four years in the United States, a flurry of confusion consumes the minds of the American people as the current president residing in the White House, as well as those that are vying for the coveted and prestigious chance to be the next United States’ president, set out on a furious campaign trail starting the year before the presidential election is to unfold to tout their strengths over the others that are in the running.

All of the incumbents – as has so been since the 1960’s – seem to have the same message, “I will fix the economy” or “Everybody should be equal” or “Everybody should get free stuff” or any number of convoluted ideas that they believe the American people will gobble-up faster than a McDonald’s burger fresh off the grill. All the while, not giving one second of thought about what the side effects to such an idea is going to cost in the long run.

So what is the process of becoming a United States President and what are the requirements?

First, you have to be a natural born citizen of the United States, you have to be at least thirty-five years old and you have to have lived in the United States for at least fourteen years.



Next. All of the people that want to run for the presidency are separated into two groups. The Republican party and The Democratic party. This is where the primaries and caucuses come into play. All of the candidates from each of the political parties will campaign throughout the country to win the favor of the rest of their group. In other words, everybody is watching everybody in each party and the people that are the most popular among each party will be selected as the final running mate against the other party.

The next step is a National Convention, where each party will pick their running mate, in this case, it would be who they would like to have as a vice president and this matters considerably as it can also shape the future of the country.

At this point, the two selected candidates from each party – the hopeful future president and vice president – will continue to campaign around the country in an effort to win the trust of the American people while delivering their message of how they are going to make things better. Or so the people are led to believe.

Before And After The Elections
Before And After The Elections

After all of this confusion that is generated throughout the year, leading up to the final election on November 4th, the American people will cast their vote. But, their vote is not a direct vote for their preferred candidate. Instead, their vote is grouped together for the “electors” in each state in which they live, then that elector will cast the vote. Confused yet?

United States Electoral College By State
United States Electoral College By State

In the United States, there is a process called the “Electoral College.” The founding fathers of the United States knew there had to be a fair way of determining the outcome of election. So, each state has a number of electors that are determined by how many congressmen – or women – and how many representatives there are in each state, which is further broken down into districts, etc and not something that I want to cover the whole of in this writing.

These electors in each state are the ones that will cast the final vote, but it doesn’t end there.

Now that all of the electors have cast their vote, the governor of each state has to certify that the votes are legal and were cast in good faith. Again, it doesn’t end there either!

Now all of the votes are combined to determine which candidate received 270 out of the possible 538 of the electoral college votes and is then named the “President Elect,” meaning that he or she is declared the next president and vice president, but there is still one more process that has to transpire before it is all said and done.

All of the electoral votes are then grouped together, placed in a mahogany box that dates back to the 1800’s and is shipped off to the United States Congress for what is called a “final reading.”

In this formal process, what is called the “Senate Pages” will carry the box, followed by all sitting members of congress to a final reading. A meeting to be held on January 6th starting at exactly one PM as mandated by the United States Constitution.

Senate Pages Carrying Mahogany Box Containing Electoral Votes
Senate Pages Carrying Mahogany Box Containing Electoral Votes

In this final step of the process, representatives of the newly sworn-in House and Senate, called “tellers” for the occasion, will pull out the certificates that are from each of the fifty states, one by one to determine whether each seems to be regular in form and authentic and present them to the president – in this years election, that will be Vice President Mike Pence – of the Senate for inspection and approval. Like a judge would preside over a court case, the vice president will preside over the proceedings in this process.

At this time, lawmakers can object to any state’s results, but there is a high bar for rejection. Congress has long interpreted the constitutional language to mean that lawmakers can lodge objections to the results as they are tallied. The current process was circumscribed in the Electoral Count Act of 1887.

It says that as the tellers read through the electoral results state by state, members of the House and Senate can submit objections in writing to a given state’s results. The objections can only hold weight if they are co-signed by at least one member of each chamber (Republican and Democrat). If not, the objection fails and the session quickly moves on.

Instances of a House member and a Senator teaming up are more rare and last took place in 2005. If it occurred, the joint session would immediately pause so lawmakers could go back to their respective chambers to debate the objection with a time limit of up to two hours. They would then vote on whether to toss out the electoral results of the state in question. Both chambers would have to agree to reject the votes, something that has not happened since the reconstruction era.

Once all the states certificates have been read and there has not been any objections, then the president – or judge if you prefer – would then declare the President Elect the winner, leaving the absolute final step of the process to be the Inauguration and Swearing-In ceremony of the newly elected president to be held on January 20th in Washington, D.C. on the West Front of the United States Capitol. The Inauguration and Swearing-In ceremonies are managed by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

As has been in almost every election dating back to the 1960’s, there has been outcry from the American people, congress, lobbyist, large corporations, banks, etc.

But in the last three elections, – former president Obama in 2008 and 2012 and what is soon to be former president Trump in 2016 – there has been a new obstacle that has made the election process more convoluted than anyone could have ever imagined. Social media and the news media.

In a second-by-second barrage of swirling theories, false hypothesis, and of course, the made up drama attempting to persuade the American people to believe that we are all going to die or whatever the objective might be, never before has there been so much contention as there has been with the billions of people from all over the world all on social media and all of them attempting to tell a global population that the United States’ election process should be this or that way or that if this person or that person is elected, there is going to be world war III.

In this election, it has culminated into what could only be described as a pure shit-show, implicating to the world that the United States is in a dire need of a complete reset.

Sure, every presidential election has been surrounded by controversy. Just look at some of the past presidential periodicals from the library of congress.

Popular Vote For President in 1848, 1852 & 1856
Popular Vote For President in 1848, 1852 & 1856
The Whole Story In A Nutshell
The Whole Story In A Nutshell

But. At no time in history have the American people been subjected to a microsecond barrage of falsehoods as they have been in the last three elections. I sadly feel for the generations to come as I truly believe that there will never again be a true dignified, respected election as there has been in the past. As for this election. Congress will have their meeting and a new president will be publicly announced by the now sitting vice president and as has been before, there will be an inauguration and swearing-in ceremony of the newly elected president.

No. Nancy Pelosi will not become president. No. President Trump will not be instituting martial law and it wouldn’t do him any good anyway as it would not change the outcome of the election. No. Members of congress will not be objecting a states electoral vote and if they do, it will die before it even gets started.

In the end, the next president of the United States will be Job Biden. Are the American people in for a rough ride?

Yes, as I wrote before in the article: But Hey. It’s What You Wanted. Why are you unhappy?

David

Author: David

As a retired traveler, IT systems engineer by trade, Electronics engineer by hobby. I spend my free time writing about subjects giving the reader events in history to ponder, as well as current events.

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