U.S. Election System Law and Constitution

When the United States was first established two hundred years ago, the founders of the United States designed the electoral system. The main purpose at that time was to prevent politicians from making false promises to voters to defraud the votes, and the "electors" indirectly elect the president to avoid malpractices. But today this meaning has disappeared. This system is mainly to respect the rights of the states. It is a manifestation of American democracy's decentralization and respect for local state rights.

How many total number of electoral votes are there in the United States?

The total number of "electoral votes" in the United States is 538, which is the total number of Senators (100), House of Representatives (435), and Washington DC representatives (3). 

What is the distribution of American Senators State wise?

Senators are distributed by state, with 2 in each of the 50 states. Members of the House of Representatives are selected by population, and one is elected by more than 500,000 people.

 For example, New York State has a population of more than 16 million, with 31 members of the House of Representatives, plus 2 senators, for a total of 33 electoral votes.

What is winner takes all?

Except for Maine and Nebraska, if any presidential candidate wins the majority vote of the state, it wins all the electoral votes of the state, which is called "winner takes all". 

Who is elected as POTUS according to the Electoral College System?

According to the Electoral College system, a candidate who has won more than half of the 538 electoral votes (270 votes) in each state is elected president.

Since the winner-takes-all calculation method is adopted, it is possible that a candidate won the national popular vote calculated by head, but loses the general election because the electoral votes are less than half.

 For example, in the 2000 general election, the Democratic candidate Gore had 500,000 more votes than the Republican candidate Bush in the national polls. 

However, because Bush finally won several hundred votes in the Florida State of Gore, the winner is the winner. 

According to the principle, Bush won all 25 electoral votes in the state, thus making him more than half of the electoral votes in the country and he was elected president.

The Asian name of the American electoral system is American democracy, decentralization, respect for local state power, and the qualifications of voters who are 18 years of age. 

The original purpose is to prevent politicians from making false promises to voters to defraud their votes.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction to the election

▪ Voter qualification

▪ Candidacy

▪ Production method

▪ Senate election

▪ House election

▪ Election management

▪ Type of election

▪ Member composition

▪ Re-election

▪ Election time

2 Electoral system

▪ Presidential election

▪ Vice President

▪ Pre-selection stage

▪ The meaning of the election

Introduction to the election

What is Voter qualification in the USA?

All U.S. citizens who have reached the age of 18 have the right to vote. All states except North Dakota require that voters must register in advance before they can vote.

What is the Candidacy requisites for contesting the US Presidential elections?

The constitution stipulates that anyone who has reached the age of 25 and has been a US citizen for 7 years can run for Congress. Anyone who has reached the age of 30 and has been a US citizen for 9 years can run for the Senate.

 But candidates must live in the electoral district when they stand for election (so the former first lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton, temporarily moved to New York State to run for the New York State Senate).

What is the method of generating candidates for the American Presidential election?

There are many ways to generate candidates, such as recommendation by party organizations, naming by politically powerful figures, and selection by interest groups, but in most cases they simply recommend themselves.

If a candidate belongs to a certain party, he must defeat other opponents in the party in the primaries of a certain party to win the party's nomination. 

In some congressional districts where one party is overwhelmingly dominant, winning the party's nomination almost wins the election.

General candidates are nominated by the party through preliminary elections. More than a century has passed since the formation of the pre-selection system. 

The United States formed a system of nominating candidates by party congresses in the 1830s. Since then, most congressmen have been nominated by secret meetings within the party. This system makes the candidates for congressmen often controlled by the party leader.

 In 1867, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, first adopted the method of direct pre-selection to nominate candidates for local public office, that is, voters from both parties directly vote to determine the candidates nominated by the party. 

At the beginning of the 20th century, the direct pre-selection system was promoted. By 1917, 44 of the 48 states in the country had implemented some form of direct pre-selection system. 

Now, all 50 states in the United States use direct pre-selection to nominate party candidates.

USA Presidential Elections Law and Constitution
Elections for US President

What is American Senate election?

Senators of Congress are directly elected by the states. Each state elects 2 senators, a total of 100 people, for a term of 6 years, and one third of them are elected every two years. 

The specific method is to divide the senators into three groups and one group for two years. Re-elected later, group 1 re-elected after 4 years, group 1 re-elected after 6 years. 

The basic principle of distribution is to ensure that two members of a state do not expire in the same year. If a senator dies or resigns during his term of office, the governor shall organize a by-election. 

Unless the state legislature authorizes the governor to appoint a senator’s successor, the successor can remain in office until the next general election, but the general election candidates only run for their predecessors.

 For the remaining term, if a senator has a term of 6 years and dies in the third year, the successor will participate in the general election after one year, and the elected will only have a term of 2 years. 

Now 49 of the 50 states authorize the governor to designate a senator’s successor, with the exception of Oregon, which must be elected through a by-election.

Before 1866, the United States did not have a unified system for the election of federal senators. Each state has its own way. 

About half of the states use bicameral voting, that is, the two houses of the state legislature elect separately, until the two houses elect the same person as the federal Senator.

What is the disadvantage of senator system?

 The disadvantage of this system is that the two houses are often deadlocked, so that a few months after the Congress, some state seats in the Senate are still vacant. 

The other half of the states use the "joint voting system", that is, members of both houses of the state legislature vote together, and the one who receives the majority of votes is elected. 

The state’s independent electoral system has brought a lot of confusion to congressional elections. 

In July 1866, the Senate Judiciary Committee submitted a report to the whole house, recommending that Congress pass laws to unify the senator election system. The two houses of Congress quickly passed the relevant bill.

What is the new senator election method?

The two houses of the state legislature vote separately, and the senators are elected by oral voting. The next day, the two houses shall hold a joint meeting to count the voting results of the two houses. If the two houses each elect the same person with a majority of votes, the federal senator shall declare the person elected immediately.

If no one obtains more than half of the two houses at the same time, the two houses of the state legislature shall hold a joint ballot at least once a day at 12 noon during the same session until the federal senator is elected. Congressman.

This method of electing federal senators through indirect elections continued until 1913. 

In 1913, two-thirds of the states approved the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, stipulating that the senators of the United States shall be elected by the people of each state, that is, pre-elected by the voters of the state before the election of the senators by the state assembly. 

The pre-selection results are stamped with the official seal.

Currently, there are 48 states in the United States that only require a single vote in the election of senators, and a simple majority can be elected, with the exception of Georgia and Louisiana.

Voting in the Senate election is not mandatory.

What is House Election in USA?

The U.S. Constitution stipulates the principle of election of members of the House of Representatives as follows: Members of Congress shall be elected according to the proportion of the population of each state, and the ratio of members to the population shall not exceed 1: 30,000 (that is, each member of the House of Representatives must represent at least 30,000 voters), but Each state should have at least one member of the House of Representatives.

 The U.S. Census is conducted every 10 years, and seats in the House of Representatives are redistributed based on the results of the census. 

According to this ratio, the current number of members of the US Congress will be as high as 7,000. The current number of 435 members is based on the results of the 13th census in 1910. 

In the 87th Congress, Alaska and Hawaii were given a place each, so that the House of Representatives has 437 members. However, it is generally believed that the legislature with 650 members like the House of Commons in the United Kingdom is too large and too heavy to increase.

 The number of members of the House of Representatives, so in 1929 Congress fixed the total number of members of the House of Representatives at 435, and the number will no longer increase with the population.

What is the principle of try to make every member of the assembly equal to the number of voters represented by other members?

The U.S. Constitution stipulates that the number of voters represented by the House of Representatives shall not be less than 30,000, but in practice it has been found that this provision is too wide. 

It is inconsistent with the principle of "try to make every member of the assembly equal to the number of voters represented by other members" established by the Supreme Court. 

Therefore, the Supreme Court passed a case ruling that when dividing electoral districts, the difference in the proportion of the population of each electoral district should not exceed 3.1%.

In 1967, the United States passed a law to abolish all states-based elections of members of the House of Representatives. That is, if a state is allocated 3 places, the state must divide 3 electoral districts in the state, and each electoral district elects one member. It is not allowed for voters across the state to vote for 3 members, unless of course there is only one place in the state. 

In the current House of Representatives seat allocation, California has the largest number of seats, with 52 seats.

 New York State is next with 29 seats; Alaska and other 7 states have 1 seat each; only 14 states have more than 10 seats.

In addition to members elected by the states in the House of Representatives, there are Resident Commissioners from Puerto Rico, and delegates from the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These representatives are sent to the House of Representatives. They enjoy the power of most members of the House, but they cannot vote.

What is the Election Management procedure in the Unites States?

The Federal Election Law stipulates that the Federal Election Commission shall manage election affairs. 

The Federal Election Commission is composed of 6 people, who are nominated by the President and approved by the Senate. 

The Federal Election Commission specifically enforces the Federal Electoral Management Act and prosecutes violations.

What is the Federal Election Law regarding donation to a candidate?

According to the Federal Election Law, in the same year, no individual can contribute more than US$1,000 to the same candidate, no more than US$25,000 to all candidates, and no more than US$5,000 to the same political action committee.

The National Committee’s donation must not exceed US$20,000. Any political action committee must not contribute more than US$5,000 to the same candidate within a year, and the national committee of the same political party cannot contribute more than US$15,000. 

The Democratic and Republican election committees of the Senate must not contribute more than US$17,500 to the same candidate. 

Although the law strictly controls campaign funding, there are still big loopholes in practice. Donors often donate soft money to evade legal constraints (US law does not limit the amount of money that voters can donate to support a certain policy. But in fact, a policy is likely to be a certain candidate Advocate, so donating money to support a policy is no different from supporting the candidate).

Each candidate must report the donations and campaign expenses received to the Federal Election Commission 10 days before the election or 30 days after the election, including the names, correspondence offices, and occupations of all donors who donated more than $100.

What is the type of election in the USA?

The election is divided into general election year elections, mid-term elections and by-elections. General election year elections are the four-year presidential election year congressional elections. At that time, presidential elections and congressional elections will be held at the same time. Mid-term elections refer to congressional elections held in the second year between two general election years.

 Election held when a vacancy is formed when a member of the council resigns, dies, or is expelled from the House of Representatives before the expiry of his term is a by-vacancy election.

What is the Member Composition in the US Senate?

Among the 100 seats in the current Senate, the Republicans hold 55 seats and the Democrats hold 45 seats. With 435 seats in the House of Representatives, the Republican Party has 223 seats, the Democratic Party has 211 seats, and the independent candidate has 1 seat.

There are 9 female members in the Senate, 58 female members in the House of Representatives, and 40 black members.

The vast majority of members of Congress are male, white, well-educated, middle-aged, middle- or upper-middle-income families.

In terms of occupation, the number of lawyers is the largest, accounting for more than 40% in the House of Representatives and more than 60% in the Senate. Entrepreneurs and bankers are second. 

There are very few representatives from trade unions or blue collars.

What is law regarding re-election of the US President?

The United States imposes a limit of two consecutive terms for the president’s appointment, but does not impose any restrictions on the term of office of congressmen. 

In fact, the re-election rate of U.S. congressmen is quite high. 92% of the re-elected members of the House of Representatives were re-elected, and the Senate also had 75%.

 In an ordinary general election, members of the House of Representatives with 50 to 70 seats can be re-elected without any campaign effort.

The main reasons why incumbents can be re-elected more easily are as follows: 

1. There are more resources available than opponents. You can make speeches on TV, radio, and rallies to let voters know and be familiar with (voters tend to vote for people who they know better when voting). 

You can also send letters to voters through assistants to strengthen contact and let voters Remember, you can even use your position to benefit the electorate and make voters grateful. 

2. Incumbents are more likely to obtain campaign funding than their opponents.

What is the Time of Election in the USA?

Why are Americans not like some countries where general election voting is held on Sunday?

 Because the United States is a multi-ethnic country, many people are not used to working on weekends, and the general election is no exception. 

The Americans set the presidential election day on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. 

It sounds a bit confusing, but that's how they stipulate it. So, why not choose Monday? 

This is because when this date was determined in 1845, the United States was still an agricultural country.

 It was difficult for some people to get to the polling place that day, and it was impossible for people to leave on Sunday, so a day was reserved for everyone.

Electoral system

President election

According to the provisions of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. implements a presidential system and the executive power belongs to the president. The powers of the head of state and government are concentrated in the president.

 The President concurrently serves as commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The President is not responsible to Congress. The president is elected by a general election held every four years, with a term of four years and a re-election period.

The process of the US presidential election is long and complicated. It mainly includes preliminary elections, presidential nomination, election campaigns, national elections, electoral college voting, and the inauguration ceremony of the elected president.

The pre-selection phase usually kicks off in New Hampshire on the third Tuesday of February of the general election year and ends in June. 

After that, the two major political parties of the United States, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, will respectively elect representatives to participate in their party's national conventions in most of the states.

 In a few states that do not hold pre-elections, the bipartisan state committees or congresses select representatives. 

Because New Hampshire took the lead in conducting the preliminary elections, the results of the election have had a great impact on other states.

The national conventions of the two major political parties in the United States are usually held in July and August. 

At that time, the representatives of the states participating in the Congress will vote for the party's presidential candidate, and then pass the vice presidential candidate nominated by the presidential candidate, and formally elect the campaign platform. 

Conferences are often several days long, with hundreds of votes cast.

After the congress, the elected presidential candidates began to campaign for votes across the country for several months, including campaign trips to various states, extensive meetings with voters, television speeches, and television debates. 

The presidential candidate has spent huge sums of money on the campaign and used all kinds of tricks.

The US law stipulates that in national elections, voters must go to a designated place to vote on the second Tuesday of November in the general election year and choose between two presidential candidates. 

National elections must also be voted by the electoral college. Since the presidential candidate who gets the most votes in a state wins all the electoral votes in that state, elections are generally routine.

Vice-president of USA

In American politics, the vice president does not hold actual work. His official business is to serve as the chairman of the Senate of Congress. But this is mainly ceremonial, because he only votes when the Senate votes are equal. 

The day-to-day work of the vice president is usually determined by the president's request, and is generally insignificant, such as representing the president in the funeral of foreign leaders.

According to the U.S. Constitution, if the president dies or loses his ability to work, the vice president takes over the presidency. 

Being the vice president first is one of the ways to become the president of the United States. Since the Second World War, three vice presidents have taken over the presidency during the presidency. 

Truman died because of Roosevelt, Johnson was assassinated because of Kennedy, and Ford succeeded as president because of Nixon's resignation. 

In addition, several vice presidents have also served as presidential candidates, including Nixon, Humphrey, Mundell and Bush.

 The Vice President of the United States is not directly elected by the American public, but is selected by the presidential candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties and elected by the bipartisan National Convention. 

When a presidential candidate chooses a vice presidential candidate, he must first consider the person's political qualifications and conditions. But it mainly depends on which part of the party he represents in order to strike a balance and try to win the support of the largest majority of voters.

But the election result does not depend on the presidential candidate's choice of the vice president, but on the presidential candidate. During the 1988 U.S. election, many Americans believed that the Republican presidential candidate Bush’s running partner Quill was too young, unskilled, and unworthy of consideration, and considered the Democratic presidential candidate Dukakis’s running partner Bentson to be experienced and profound.

 Fu Zhongwang. But as a result of the general election, Bush won and became president, and Quill naturally became vice president.

The vice presidential candidate is usually a member of Congress, but a senator has a higher chance of being selected as the vice presidential candidate. 

The reason is that once a senator is elected as the vice president, he will serve as the chairman of the Senate, which can strengthen the relationship between the president and the Senate.

What is the Pre-selection stage in the US Elections?

The primaries are the primary elections and are the first stage of the US presidential election. 

The pre-selection period is usually from February to June. In this stage, representatives are mainly elected to participate in the national congress of various parties, and the presidential candidates of each party are finally selected at the national congress of the party.

At present, most states in the United States implement direct pre-elections, through which voters directly elect representatives to participate in the party’s national congress, and voters can also directly express their views on presidential candidates. 

Since the representatives of the National Congress clearly expressed their support for the presidential candidate, the voting results can clearly know the support rate of the presidential candidates. 

This kind of pre-election was held in New Hampshire on February 1st this year.

What is Cadre Meeting or Grass Meeting?

Another form of pre-election is called a "cadre meeting" (or "grass meeting"), where the two parties hold the party's grassroots meeting at each election site in a state. 

The voters who support their party will express their support for who will be the president of the party Candidates and elected representatives to attend county-level representative meetings.

 Then, the county congress elects representatives to the state congress, and the state congress elects representatives to the national congress, and the national congress decides the party’s presidential candidate. 

This is the pre-selection held in Iowa on January 24. Iowa was the first state in the country to hold a party congress, and New Hampshire was the first state to hold direct preliminary elections. The pre-elections of the two states play the role of "weather vane" and "barometer". 

The results of the election will affect the pre-elections of other states in the future. Therefore, it is crucial to the success or failure of candidates.

The pre-election activities in each state, whether in the form of a pre-election or a pre-election meeting, generally only allow voters who clearly indicate that they are Democrats or Republicans to participate. 

The voters who are not clear about their party positions cannot participate. Even the former part of voters actually only participated in a small part.

What are the different concepts of the US Election?

U.S. elections often involve the 3 different concepts of "term", "ren" and "position" of the US president.

Regarding the "term", the U.S. Constitution stipulates that the presidential election shall be held once every four years, and the president shall be elected once every four years. 

If the president fails to complete his term for some reason, another person will take over, and the two presidents will be the same president.

Regarding "ren", it refers to the number of times the president has been held. One person holds the post of president for several consecutive terms and remains one term. 

However, a person has been elected several times in discrete presidential elections, and several elections count as several terms.

Regarding "position", it refers to the actual number of people who have served as president. 

Since the beginning of the election of the President of the United States, no matter whether it is re-election or several successive elections, without double counting, several people count as several.

Based on this calculation, Bill Clinton is the 52nd, 42nd, and 41st President of the United States.