Annie's "Election History and Information" Page

~Election 2008 was on November 4th~

Make Your Voice Heard. Vote This Year!!!

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and
pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear
from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and
will heal their land."
~2 Chronicles 7:14~

All the information quoted from The World Book Encyclopedia!
Election Day is the first Tuesday
after the first Monday in November.

On Election Day, voters in each state and the District of Columbia mark a ballot for President and Vice President.
This balloting is called the popular vote. The popular vote does not directly decide the winner of the election.
Instead, it determines the delegates who will represent each state and the District of Columbia in the Electoral
College. These delegates officially elect the President and Vice President.

The Electoral College has 538 delegates, each of whom casts one electoral vote. To be elected President, a
candidate must win a majority, or 270, of the electoral votes. Each state has as many electoral votes as the total
of its representatives and senators in Congress. The District of Columbia has three electoral votes.

The Electoral College voting takes place in the December following the presidential election. The results are
announced in January. But the public usually finds out who the President will be a few hours after polls close on
Election Day. This is because the candidate who gets the most popular votes in a state will receive by custom
or law all the state's electoral votes. Thus, the press can forecast the winner.

The winner of the nationwide popular vote nearly always receives a majority of the electoral votes and becomes
President. But the Electoral College has elected two Presidents who lost the popular vote. These Presidents were
Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876 and Benjamin Harrison in 1888. A third President, John Quincy Adams, also lost the
popular vote. But Adams was elected President by the House of Representatives after no candidate had received a
majority of the electoral votes in the election of 1824. Ronald Reagan received the greatest number of electoral
votes of any President--525 in 1984.

The inauguration is the ceremony of installing the new or reelected President in office. It is held at noon on
January 20 after the election. Up to 100,000 spectators attend the inauguration, which usually takes place
outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Millions of other Americans see the event on television.

The highlight occurs when the new President takes the oath of office from the chief justice of the United
States. With right hand raised and left hand on an open Bible, the new President says: "I do solemnly swear (or
affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my
ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Other roads to the White House. A person may become President in other ways besides winning the presidential
election. These procedures are established by Article II of the Constitution; the 12th and 20th amendments; and
the Presidential Succession Act.

Article II provides that the Vice President becomes President whenever the President dies, resigns, is removed
from office, or cannot fulfill the duties of the presidency. Nine Vice Presidents became President by filling a
vacancy. One of them, Gerald R. Ford, followed an unusual route to the White House. President Richard M.
Nixon nominated him to succeed Spiro T. Agnew, who had resigned as Vice President in 1973. In 1974,
Nixon resigned as President, and Ford succeeded him. Ford was the only President who was not elected
to either the vice presidency or the presidency.

The 12th Amendment permits Congress to act if no candidate for President wins a majority of the electoral votes.
Then, the House of Representatives chooses the President. Each state delegation casts one vote. The House has
elected two Presidents, Thomas Jefferson in 1801 and John Quincy Adams in 1825.

The 20th Amendment allows leaders of the party of the popular-vote winner to select a new presidential candidate
if the winner dies before the Electoral College meets. The college would then vote on that selection. If the
popular-vote winner dies after the college meets but before the inauguration, the winning candidate for Vice
President becomes President. Neither of these provisions has ever been applied.
~Above from The World Book Encyclopedia~

Roles of the President
The only roles that the Constitution clearly assigns to the President are those of chief administrator of the nation
and commander of its armed forces. But court decisions, customs, laws, and other developments have greatly
expanded the President's responsibilities and powers. Today, the President has seven basic roles: (1) chief
executive, (2) commander in chief, (3) foreign policy director, (4) legislative leader,
(5) party head, (6) popular leader, and (7) chief of state.
~Above from The World Book Encyclopedia~


Qualifications: The United States Constitution provides that a candidate for the presidency must be a
"natural-born" United States citizen. The candidate must also be at least 35 years old and must have lived in the
United States for at least 14 years. No law or court decision has yet defined the exact meaning of natural-born.
Authorities assume the term applies to citizens born in the United States and its territories. But they are not
sure if it also includes children born to United States citizens in other countries.How
Nominated: By a national
political party convention.
How Elected: By a majority vote of the Electoral College, held in December following the general election on the
first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of every fourth year.
Inauguration: Held at noon on January 20 after election. If January 20 is a Sunday, the ceremony may be held
privately that day and again in public on January 21.
Term: The President is elected to a four-year term. A President may not be elected more than twice.
Income: The President receives a yearly salary of $200,000, a $50,000 annual allowance for expenses, and
additional allowances for travel, staff support, and maintenance of the White House.
Succession: If a President dies, resigns, is disabled, or is removed from office, the Vice President assumes the

~Above from The World Book Encyclopedia~

About Election Day
Election Day in the United States is the day on which national elections for presidential electors take place. The
U.S. Congress established the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November as Election Day. It is a legal
holiday in most states and in all territories. Many state elections are also held on this day. Many states forbid
the retail sale of liquor while the polls are open.

Originally, Congress did not set a specific date for national elections. Each state could appoint its electors on any
day within 34 days before the date in December set for the convening of electors. In 1845, Congress established
Election Day to correct abuses caused by the lack of a standard election day.
~Above from The World Book Encyclopedia~

Did you know that?
The U.S. flag should be flown at polling places on election days.
~Above from The World Book Encyclopedia~

The 15th Amendment
Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that an American citizen shall not be
discriminated against in exercising the right to vote. It states that the federal and state governments cannot
bar a citizen from voting because the person had been a slave or because of race.

Amendment 15 was ratified on Feb. 3, 1870. Seven Southern states tried to bypass it by adding grandfather
clauses to their constitutions. One such clause gave the right to vote to people who could vote on Jan. 1, 1867,
and to their family descendants. In 1915 and 1939, the Supreme Court of the United States declared
grandfather clauses unconstitutional. For information on recent legislation protecting the right to vote.
~Above from The World Book Encyclopedia~

Voting Districts:
Voting districts. In the United States, each county, township, or ward of a state is divided into voting districts
called precincts. Citizens may vote only at the polling place in the precinct in which they live. Election officials
at the polling places certify voters and tabulate the votes after the polls close.

Beginning in 1962, the Supreme Court made a series of decisions concerning redistricting--that is, the redrawing
of the boundaries of districts from which representatives are elected. The court has held that congressional
districts--as well as state districts for the election of local, municipal, and state representatives--must be
approximately equal in population. These rulings were designed to ensure that each vote would
have equal power in the election process.

Methods of voting: In the 1700's, most of the American Colonies conducted oral elections. Later, some states
used written ballots but required voters to sign them. Gradually, people came to feel that these practices
restricted the freedom of voters. Some citizens feared that others would react negatively if they voted as they
wished. As a result, states began using secret ballots so that each voter could choose freely.

Today, the United States and Canada use the Australian ballot system. Under this system, each voter marks
a printed ballot while alone in a screened booth. Currently, a large majority of voters in the United States
use voting machines that provide secrecy and simplify vote counting.

Absentee Voting
Every U.S. state and Canadian province allows absentee voting for citizens who cannot go to their polling places.
These citizens include people in the armed forces, college students, sick people, and travelers who are abroad on
business or vacations. Citizens who wish to vote by absentee ballot must first apply through a state or local
official. Qualified absentee voters receive a ballot, envelope, and instructions. They must mark their ballots in the
presence of a notary public (licensed witness) and return them before election day.
~Above from The World Book Encyclopedia~

Voting Behavior
Many qualified voters in the United States rarely--or never--vote. During the 1970's and 1980's, about 55
percent of all qualified voters voted in presidential elections. In congressional, state, and local elections, the
turnout is normally lower. In many other democracies, at least 80 percent of all voters vote in national elections.
Some nations ensure high voter turnouts by fining or even imprisoning citizens who do not vote.

In general, people vote if they believe they have something to gain or lose from an election. Social scientists have
found that some groups of people vote more often than others. More women vote than men, and people between
the ages of 55 and 75 are more likely to vote than people of other ages. The higher an individual's income or
education, the more likely the person is to vote. Family and social background also affect how people vote.
For example, many people adopt the political party preferences of their parents.

Dramatic national or world events may cause major shifts in voting patterns. During the Great Depression of the
1930's, for example, party loyalties in the United States shifted greatly in favor of the Democratic Party.
~Above from The World Book Encyclopedia~

Voting Machine
Voting machine is a mechanical device for recording and counting votes at an election. It provides an absolutely
secret ballot and records it automatically, with accuracy, speed, and economy. More than half of all the voters
in the United States use voting machines.

Operation: The voter stands in front of the machine and moves a master lever that closes a set of curtains around
the voter and unlocks the voting machine. In front of the voter are the names of all the candidates, arranged in
rows according to their political party. The candidates are listed next to the titles of the offices they seek. The
voter turns a pointer next to the name of each candidate he or she chooses for an office.

In some states, a voter may vote a straight ticket simply by pulling a party lever at one end of the party's row of
candidates. The machine will then register a vote for each candidate in the row. The machine does not register or
count any votes until the voter moves the master lever back. This registers and counts the vote,
and opens the curtains.

Voting machines also provide for ballots on bond issues or other proposals. The machine registers a yes or no vote.
Modern voting machines have one row of voting pointers for questions, and nine party rows of voting pointers for
candidates. They are built in sizes to accommodate 270, 360, 450, or 540 candidates.

Some election districts in the United States use computerized voting machines. Instead of pulling a lever, the
voter marks a square or punches a hole on a computer card. The computer totals all valid votes for each candidate
or issue and prints out the results.

Advantages: A voting machine is automatic and impartial. Dishonest officials cannot change it or tamper with its
records, although they might "stuff" a ballot box with paper ballots. Fewer election officials are needed, and
the cost of printing paper ballots is reduced. The machine also eliminates expensive and possibly inaccurate
recounts of hand-counted paper ballots. The money saved within a few years often equals the machine's cost.
A voting machine often lasts as long as 50 years.

Legislative voting machines record the votes for and against proposals in many state legislatures. These electric
and mechanical devices reduce the time needed for a roll-call vote of the legislators. Each lawmaker's desk has
buttons with which the lawmaker can vote either yes or no. When a button is pressed, the vote appears on a
counting device at the clerk's or speaker's desk. Many legislatures also have a counting board on one wall of the
chamber. As each legislator votes, a colored light is lit opposite the legislator's name on the board. Many
legislative voting machines provide a permanent record, showing the total votes cast
and the vote of each legislator on each roll-call.

History: Thomas Edison invented the first legislative voting machine in 1868. Election voting machines developed
more slowly. The first practical voting machine used in an election was put into service in Lockport, N.Y., in
1892. Manufacture and distribution of voting machines has continued steadily since then. Today, voting machines
are in use in more than three-fourths of the states. Many states now require the use of voting machines in all
elections, including primary elections.

The United States was the first country to conduct elections by machine. Several others began using voting
machines in the 1960's. Still other countries are engaged in research on their use.
~Above from The World Book Encyclopedia~

Ballot is the means by which voters indicate their choices in an election. The ballot may be a printed form that
lists the candidates and describes issues that voters are to decide. It may also be set up on a voting machine.
The voting machine was first used in 1892, and is now used by over half the voters in the United States.

In the United States, the written ballot was used in Massachusetts as early as 1634. By the time the Constitution
was ratified, nearly all the original 13 states used written ballots.

Before 1800, political groups distributed tickets that listed the names of candidates they favored. Voters could
use these tickets as ballots but found it hard to vote for candidates not on the list. Sometimes they scratched
the ticket, crossing off the party's choice and writing in another name.

Voters did not always have the privilege of a secret ballot, and coercion and bribery were common. To correct
these evils, Kentucky and Massachusetts adopted the Australian ballot system in 1888. In this system, each voter
receives a printed ballot at the polling place, and then marks it in secret in a curtained booth. The voting machine
uses a form of Australian ballot.

Some states use the party column ballot in general elections. On this ballot, candidates are listed according to
party. The party column ballot makes it easier for voters to vote a straight ticket (vote for candidates of one
party only). Other states use the office-block ballot. This ballot lists candidates according to the office they
seek, making it easier for voters to vote for candidates from different parties. A ballot on which votes have been
cast for candidates of different parties is called a split ticket. Because candidates whose names are first on a
ballot often receive the most votes, many states have the names rotated as the ballots are printed.

Sometimes so many candidates are chosen at one election that ballots are several feet or a meter long. Some
states have tried to simplify the ballot by reducing the number of offices filled by election. This short ballot
centralizes the responsibility of government in a small body of elected officials, who appoint other officials.

Older customs: The word ballot comes from the French word ballotte, meaning a little ball. In ancient Athens,
judges of the highest court generally gave their verdicts by dropping stone or metal balls into boxes. Balls that
were pierced in the center or colored black stood for verdicts of condemnation. Unpierced or white balls meant
acquittal. Some clubs now use white and black balls to vote on new members.
Persons not admitted are said to be blackballed.

The Romans generally used wooden tickets, or tabellae. When a change in law was proposed, those in favor marked
the ballot with the letters U R, for Uti rogas, meaning as you ask. A vote against the change was indicated by
the letter A for Antiguo, meaning for the old. In an election of candidates for public office, names of the
candidates were written on ballots. During the Middle Ages, voting fell into disuse but was revived in the Italian
communes in the 1200's. Ballots were used in England in the 1500's, and in the Netherlands in the 1600's.
~Above from The World Book Encyclopedia~

Other Related Pages by Annie:
Presidents Day Pages: Annie's Presidents Day Page
Annie's Presidential Facts Page
Annie's President's Day Links Page
Annie's President's Day Just for Kids Page
Annie's "News in a Nutshell" Page
Annie's News Ticker Page
Annie's News Sources Page

Annie's Inauguration Day Page
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