How does the United States presidential election system work?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the United States, there is a process that is used to choose the candidates for President for each political party. When an election is going to occur, candidates announce that they will run for the office of President. Each state holds either a primary election or a party caucus to determine how many delegates each candidate will receive from that state. A candidate must get a certain number of delegates in order to get the party’s nomination. After all the primaries and the caucuses are held, the party will hold its national nominating convention.

One of the purposes of the national nominating convention is to choose the party’s candidate for President. Once a candidate gets the nomination from his or her party, all of the candidates will face each other in the general election. In the general election, the candidates try to win as many states as possible in order to get at least the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election. When a candidate wins a state, the candidate gets either all of or a portion of the electoral votes from that state.

The Electoral College will then choose the President and the Vice President in the middle of December, completing the electoral process.