Presidential Elections: The Electoral Process at Work
Living in a democracy is great: it creates a platform for opportunity and equality unlike any other political system. But the system is only as strong as those who make it, and the American electoral process depends on committed voters and civic-minded individuals to keep it running fairly. In 2008, Americans are once again faced with the central component in preserving the democratic system—voting for president. This guide will refresh your memory on the history of the electoral process, show you how to register to vote, and suggest some resources for would-be volunteers.
The United States developed an electoral process based on democratic ideals. Studying the history of American elections sheds light on the founders’ original intent as well as the contemporary value of the unique elements of the American electoral system, such as Electoral College.
- If you want to read about the current presidential campaign, visit findingDulcinea’s Election 2008 Web Guide. You’ll find out who’s officially running, where to get news about the campaign process, and much more.
- As you research elements of American political history, don’t be afraid of sites geared toward kids or teens. We’ve recommended some in this guide, and you may come across others in your research. These sites can be valuable sources of information and shouldn’t be discredited just because they are presented in a simple, educational way.
The Library of Congress
presents this educational site that explores the history and relevance of various elements of the presidential electoral process. Go to “Candidates
” to learn about candidate requirements, or visit “Party System
” for an overview of how the U.S. political system is organized.
U.S. Department of State
publishes this “Outline of U.S. Government.” The site explains the history and development of key aspects of American politics. The Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the creation of the three branches of government, and other key topics are explored in eight chapters. Have a look at the “Government of the People: The Role of the Citizen
” for information on how your voice matters.
Vote: The Machinery of Democracy
is sponsored by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and provides a history of the voting process and practices in America, with photos and cartoons dating back to the 19th century. This site is primarily an exhibition of voting devices and advertisements, but includes lots of historical information.
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