The United States, one of the world’s oldest democracies, is going to elect its 45th head of the state – the President – November 8.
As usual, the contest will be mainly between the Democratic Party, which is in power for the last two consecutive terms, and Republican Party.
The Democratic Party has chosen the former secretary of states Hilary Clinton as its presidential candidate. Billionaire Donald Trump is the Republican Party candidate against her.
As the campaigns by both Clinton and Trump are in full swing, we compile a list of 10 important facts about the presidential elections in the US you may want to know.
1. The minimum eligibility of contesting the election is quite simple. Any natural-born citizen of the United States of America who has resided in the US for at least 14 years and who is a minimum 35 years of age is qualified to contest the election.
2. The term of the US President is for four years. So, every four year Americans vote to elect the President. No person can be elected to the office of the president for more than two terms.
3. The polling takes place on a fixed day each time America goes to the election. The day is the Tuesday after the first Monday of November. This year the day is November 8.
4. The minimum eligibility to be a voter is being a natural born American citizen of a minimum 18 years of age. They have to register their names with the concerned authority before the elections.
5. The two main political parties of the US are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The incumbent president Barack Obama is a representative of the Democratic Party.
6. However, there are some other candidates too in the fray representing some minor political parties such as the Libertarian Party and Green Party. Even America has a party which calls itself Legal Marijuana Now Party.
Dan Vacek of Minnesota is contesting the presidential election as the representative of this party with a single political agenda of legalizing marijuana in the country immediately!
7. The political parties organise ‘primaries’ first in which several candidates from the same party contest within the party to be nominated as the presidential candidate.
This election process within the parties or the ‘primaries’ are an integral part of the whole process and started almost a year prior to the main election for the office of the President.
8. Clinton became the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee on July 26 after defeating senator Bernie Sander in the primaries, thereby becoming the first woman presidential candidate of a major political party in the US electoral history.
If she wins the election she will be the first woman to head the world’s most powerful country.
9. The Green Party too has nominated a woman, physicist Jill Stein, as its presidential candidate.
10. The presidential election involves a complex procedure in which the ordinary voters vote for the President indirectly.
The ordinary voters first elect local delegates directly. Such delegates then form an Electoral College of 538 members which in turn directly vote for the election of the President.