Presidential candidates spend millions of dollars on ads, trade inflammatory jabs on live television and crisscross the country many times over on their quest for votes. But beyond pulling a lever, punching a card or pressing a button, do you really know how the country's electoral system works?
In the United States, what determines the winner of a presidential election?
The Electoral College system, as described in Article II, section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, allows people to vote for electors, who then cast their votes for the candidates.
The Electoral College allows each state to have how many electors?
The amount of each state's electors is determined by the number of its U.S. senators plus the number of its U.S. representatives. There are currently 538 electors, including the three who represent Washington, D.C.
How is the presidential candidate selected in Russia?
Russia has a direct voting system where the majority of popular votes wins the election.
When do Americans officially find out the winner of the presidential election?
Although they vote on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November, U.S. citizens don't always find out the winner of the election until the president of the Senate reads the electoral votes on Jan. 6.
If no candidate wins a majority of electoral votes, how is the election decided?
According to the 12th Amendment, the House of Representatives decides the winner of a presidential election in cases where neither candidate receives a majority of the votes. Only two elections have been decided this way.
How many of the electoral votes must a candidate receive in order to win?
Candidates need to receive 270 of the 538 electoral votes to declare victory. In the 2000 election, George W. Bush won the election by a single electoral vote.
What's the name of the election that determines which candidate makes it into the general election?
In a primary election, voters select who will go into the general election to represent their respective political parties.
What kind of primary allows voters to cast a ballot for either party?
Closed primaries only allow voters affiliated with a given party to vote for their chosen candidate within that party; open primaries allow voters to choose either party, regardless of their affiliation.
States where no candidate has overwhelming support and the popular vote is up for grabs are known as what?
Swing states, also known as purple states or battleground states, are states where the popular vote is usually close and the outcome is up for grabs.
In 2006, how many registered voters were there in the United States?
In 2006, about 170 million people were registered to vote in the United States. That's a little more than half of the country's population of roughly 305 million people.
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