The United States electoral system is said to be one of the most transparent since it is based on the principle of nationwide (federal) voting. At the same time, both the President of the United States and the sheriff of a small village are elected exclusively by voting, and not by appointment, as is customary in many countries. Let’s review the main issues in this article.
Fundamentals of the US electoral system
The suffrage in the United States of America is known to be secured not only by the Constitution at all its levels, but also by the Declaration of Independence. Here we should take into account several main points that formed the basis of the entire electoral system.
Initially, it is worth considering the number of common votes and so-called “electoral” ones. The thing is that with a greater number of common votes, electoral voting can change the alignment of forces in the political arena quite significantly, and the percentage of influence on results can be only 2-3%.
Presidential elections in the USA
The president, as the chief representative of power, is elected every four years. All in all, 18,000 positions are submitted for elections. An interesting fact is this is directly influenced by the so-called Electoral College. At the same time, voters choose a list submitted by one of the main candidates.
It should be noted that elections in the United States take place on the principle of “the winner gets everything”. What does it mean? Only that it is connected exclusively with a set of electoral votes. For example, in 2000, Bush Jr. received 271 votes against 266 votes from Gore, and the preponderance of the total was only 500 votes.
The imperfection of the US electoral system
Despite its transparency, the system of elections of US officials at all levels of government is subjected to rather harsh criticism. Basically, this is due to the fact that the Electoral College is involved here, which can lead to an incorrect correlation of the results of the voting of individuals and elections as a whole.
No less discussed issues are related to the size of the population of each individual state. The most populated areas, in which the population density is higher, naturally, show better results.
Considering this, there may even be a disregard for the interests of some states. Here, not electoral votes are taken into account, but the percentage of voting for the entire country as a whole, based on the population size of each state. This is the whole paradox: the percentage of votes for each individual region can either affect the overall result or (which is more common) not to be taken into account at all.
US Congressional Elections
The US Congress is divided into the House of Representatives and the Senate. The first, based on the number of states, implies the election of several candidates from each region, all in all, the House includes 435 seats. The term of work of all past candidates is 2 years.
The Senate includes 100 representatives (two from each of the fifty states). Candidates are elected for 6 years. Initially, elections were held by state legislatures, but after the entry into force of the 13th amendment to the Constitution of 2013, they became direct. Elections are held simultaneously with the election of the House of Representatives, and the Senate itself is updated by 1/3 every 2 years. The main territorial unit in elections is the whole state.
Criticism of the electoral process in the US
The media recently noted the increased sponsorship of parties and candidates by private investors. In 2006, the amount of investments was about 2.6 billion dollars. One can imagine how much the electoral campaign for the position of President, the Governor of the State or an ordinary official in each state costs today. What causes the most genuine interest of the media are the facts of financing candidates by oil magnates. Of course, such facts are not particularly publicized, but many are forced to think.
How to become the President of the USA?
In order to implement this, it will be necessary to observe several mandatory conditions enshrined in the US Constitution, without which one can not even think about such a prospect:
- availability of US citizenship;
- age over 35 years;
- residence of at least 14 previous years in the country;
- creation of own party or membership in an already existing one (democratic, republican);
- presence of own political program;
- carefully designed election campaign;
- presence of own or sponsor’s funds
Judging by the above requirements, the conditions are not very stringent, but, as practice shows, everything is much more complicated. In particular, bear in mind that the party can nominate not one but several candidates who will have to participate in primaries and caucuses so that they do not select the potential votes of voters from each other, hold debates with opponents and competitors, speak to the public, etc. At the same time, some procedures can be very strong at the legislative level.