Library of Congress


Election... the American Way

The Presidential Election Process

  • Requirements for the President of the United States

    Qualifications for presidential candidates have remained the same since the year Washington accepted the presidency. As directed by the Constitution, a presidential candidate must be a natural born citizen of the United States, a resident for 14 years, and 35 years of age or older.

  • Political Parties

    Many political parties have played a role in American presidential elections through our nation’s history. The diverse conditions of historical eras, and differing ideologies of America's people gave rise to these political parties, founded to advance specific ideals and the candidates who represented them.

  • Political Primaries: How Are Candidates Nominated?

    The face of political conventions doesn't seem to have changed much since the early 1900s. As then, at today's conventions, you'd see crowds of delegates, banners, and signs. But while they may look the same, over the last 150 years the American primary process has been dramatically transformed.

  • Persuading Voters: Political Campaigns

    The road to the White House is long, expensive, and exhausting. Becoming a candidate is only the beginning of the election process. Successful candidates must continue to convince the voters that they deserve their individual votes and garner the critical votes of electors in the Electoral College.

  • What is the Electoral College?

    If you're an American citizen, 18 years of age or older, you probably think you have the right to vote for presidential candidates in the national election. However, that's not entirely correct! In our country, when citizens punch their ballots for president, they actually vote for a slate of electors. Electors then cast the votes that decide who becomes president of the United States.