How is a person elected President of the United States?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are two steps to getting elected President of the US.

First, the candidate must be nominated to run as the Republican or Democratic candidate for President.  (I am ignoring the procedures for other parties because there have been very few serious "third party" candidates in history.)  This is done through a process of winning delegates in primary elections and caucuses in the various states of the country.  Whoever wins the most delegates gets to run for President as the Republican or Democratic candidate.

Second, the candidate must win the general election.  This happens in November of the election year.  In order to win, the candidate has to win a majority of the electoral votes.  Each state has a number of electoral votes equal to the number of Senators and Representatives it has in Congress.  Almost every state gives all its electoral votes to the candidate who wins the most votes in the state.  That means that a candidate who wins 51% of the vote in the state gets 100% of that state's electoral votes.

Very briefly, that is the process by which a president is elected.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial