Lots of people dream of becoming President of the United States.
But to officially run for office, a person needs to meet three basic requirements established
by the U.S. Constitution (Article 2, Section 1).
A Presidential candidate must be: A natural born citizen (U.S. citizen from birth)
At least 35 years old and
A U.S. resident (permanently lives in the U.S.) for at least 14 years
People with similar ideas usually belong to the same political party.
The two main parties in the U.S. are Republican and Democrat.
Many people want to be President.
They campaign around the country and compete to try to win their party’s nomination.
In caucuses, party members meet, discuss, and vote for who they think would be the best
In primaries, party members vote in a state election for the candidate they want to represent
them in the general election.
After the primaries and caucuses, each major party, Democrat and Republican, holds a national
convention to select a Presidential nominee.
The party’s Presidential nominee announces his or her choice for Vice President.
The Presidential candidates campaign throughout the country to win the support of the
On election day, people in every state cast their vote .
When people cast their vote, they are actually voting for a group of people called electors.
The number of electors each state gets is equal to its total number of Senators and
Representatives in Congress.
A total of 538 electors form the Electoral College.
Each elector casts one vote following the general election.
The candidate who gets 270 votes or more wins.
The newly elected President and Vice President are then inaugurated on January 20th.
For more information, go to kids.usa.gov/president.