Election 2016: Here’s What You Need to Know

Claire Zwack, Senior News Editor

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Whether you are of voting age or not, you have no doubt been tracking the events of the 2016 Election, along with millions of other Americans. However, many could use a refresher of how the election process in the United States works. So here’s a comprehensive list of answers to all question related to the election.

Who can vote?

Any person over the age of 18, who is a United States citizen or meets the residency requirements for his or her state, is eligible to vote. (To register to vote, visit http://www.ny.gov/services/register-vote.)

Who are the candidates?

There are four main candidates running in the 2016 election with one candidate for each of the two major political parties in the United States. Hillary Clinton, Former U.S. Secretary of State, represents the Democratic Party. Businessman Donald Trump represents the Republican Party. The other candidates include Former Governor Gary Johnson for the Libertarian Party and Dr. Jill Stein for the Green Party.

Who are the running mates?

The candidates for Vice-President are Tim Kaine (under Hillary Clinton),  Mike Pence (under Donald Trump), Bill Weld (under Gary Johnson), and Ajamu Baraka (under Jill Stein).

How is the election decided?

On Tuesday, November 8th, all registered voters can select the candidate that they want to become president on the ballots at their designated polling place. Although each person may choose a candidate, the president is not directly elected by the people. Rather, when you cast your vote, you are actually voting for a group of people called electors, who make up the Electoral College. Before the polling places even open, the political parties will select people to serve as electors. After the general public has voted, the electors for each state will meet to decide their state’s vote for the president. In almost all of the fifty states, electors will chose the candidate that the majority of people in that state have selected; then that candidate will receive the designated number of electoral votes for the states. In total, there are 538 electors. A candidate will need more than half of the electoral votes (270) in order to win the presidency.

The number of electors for each state is determined by the representation in Congress. Therefore, states will receive the number of electors that is equal to the number of Senators plus the number of State Representatives. Washington D.C. is given a number of electors equal to the number of electors for the smallest state. United States territories are not represented in the Electoral College.

What of happens if not a single candidate gets the necessary 270 electoral votes?

If no candidate gets the 270 electoral votes, then the House of Representatives elects the President from the three presidential candidates with the most electoral votes. Then, the Senate elects then Vice-President from the two vice-presidential candidates with the most electoral votes.

When does the winner of the election officially become the President?

Inauguration Day will take place this year on Friday, January 20th at the United States Capitol Building in Washington D.C. On this federal holiday, the chosen presidential and vice-presidential candidates will be sworn in and take office. The Vice-President is sworn in first, followed by the President being sworn in around noon. These famous words have been said by presidents for generations at the inauguration: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” After the swearing-in ceremony, a day of activities follows.

 

In the next four years, the election process will repeat itself, bringing in new candidates with new solutions for the country’s problems.

 

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