Understanding The Presidential Race
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Politics and Activism

Understanding The Presidential Race

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Understanding The Presidential Race
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Like me, you probably spent a decent chunk of your elementary education learning how the government works, maybe you understood it and maybe you didn't. Either way, here we all are, fumbling around and trying to figure out what all this presidential election stuff really means. If this is your first time being eligible to vote, it can be particularly confusing. Starting out this article, I was pretty sure I knew the basics of how a presidential election works, but I went to the official government site to double check. Like most things, even though it may seem simple on he surface the details can get complicated.

To start, a potential candidate must make sure they meet all the qualifications for president, which is pretty straightforward. After announcing their candidacy they, or someone on their team, must file paperwork with the federal elections commission. This is where it starts to get a little complicated.

Depending on which party a candidate belongs to, things may go a little differently, but overall each party follows a similar pattern. If more than one person in a party wants to run for president, they decide who will run the party in the primaries. Primaries can be held differently from state to state and on different days. This tends to be where some of the confusion starts so if you're unsure when your state's primary is, you can find it here. It's also important to note whether your state holds an open primary, in which you can vote in either party, or closed, where you can only vote for the party you're registered to.

The point of primaries is to decide who receives delegates in each party. This process is also different between the two major parties. Democrats awards its delegates proportionately. The Republican party gives each state a choice between awarding delegates proportionately or with a winner-take-all. to each of its A Democratic candidate must obtain 2,383 delegates to run for the party while Republicans need 1,237. In all likelihood, your state as already held it's primaries, but never fear, this is only the beginning of the presidential race.

After the presidential candidates have been officially announced for each party, the candidates will continue to campaign until the General Election, which is where things get complicated yet again. When I was younger, I believed that the president was selected via popular vote and sometimes I forget that that's not really how it works. In reality, each state has a certain number of electors, which is who we're really voting for when we cast our votes. These people who make up the electoral college vote for president. Ideally these votes would reflect the popular vote, but in some states the electors can vote against popular opinion. Luckily, the general election is the same date for everyone, this year it will be held November 8.

Regardless, of how well ou understand the system, it's important that you understand the issues and vote on what you believe. Deciding what side you're on may actually be the hardest part of understanding any election. If you're having trouble deciding you can go here to get a good idea of where you stand on the issues.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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