Every four years a new president is elected, but what does a candidate do behind the scenes to become president? Running for presidency takes a lot of time, money, and work. The first step to becoming president is qualifying and meeting regulations. A president qualifies if he is 35 years old, lived in the country for 14 years, and either been born in America or one of his or her parents been born in America. Once someone meets those requirements, they can file ‘a statement of candidacy’ with the Federal Election Commission. This statement includes which party they are, the office they want, and some personal information. The Federal Election Commission also requires a political action committee which will obtain money from supporters for advertising. Many people complete this step but are often never heard of from others.
After these steps have been completed, a presidential candidate needs to get on the primary ballot in as many states as possible. To do this, a candidate must gain a specific number of signatures from each state. Getting on the primaries helps a candidate to have more delegates and support as he moves to his parties’ presidential convention. Here delegates come from all over to choose which candidate they will support and who will run for their party. To win, someone running must have votes from a specific number of delegates. After each party has selected a candidate, usually debating between the chosen presidents begin. Debates show where each potential president stand on matters and can help establish a positive view from others. On the other hand, debates can also hurt a candidate if he performs badly.
Eventually the general voting begins. When citizens cast votes, they vote for an elector who promises to vote for their party’s candidate. Each state has a specific number of electors depending on their population. California has more electors than Rhode Island and so on. In 48 states, the president who wins the popular vote will gain all of the party’s electors but in Maine and Nebraska, the electors are split proportionately depending on the amount of votes a candidate wins from each district.
The electoral college meets after the voting phase is over. The president who wins 270 electoral votes is called the president-elect. Usually, each elector will vote for his party, but sometimes they vote for a different candidate. After the votes have been cast, the results are delivered to the vice president, secretary of the Department of State, the national archivist, and the presiding judge in the district where the electors meet. The Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House then verify the results. The results are finally announced in a joint session of congress.
After a president is elected, he will be sworn in on Inauguration Day. Usually, the new president will give a speech and the departing president will leave a note or say a few words to the new president. After this the new president can take office for four years and then the cycle will repeat.
The process of becoming president takes a long time and is a very complex cycle.