Teaching Our Children About The U.S. Presidential Election

Teaching Our Children About The U.S. Presidential Election

We the people ARE the government here in America -- we elect our leaders to lead our country and represent us through elections! By voting, we are able to express or opinions on issues through our choice of candidates. As the next generation begins to mature and prepare to be a part of their communities, they need to understand that their vote is their voice. The freedom to vote and choose our government representatives is a freedom that has been obtained and defended at the cost of many precious lives. Our children need to understand the election process, the workings of American government and the  impact they can have on the process as well as the future of our country.

As our children grow, they need to be fully aware of their own capabilities and responsibilities within the framework of our American government. The American government if "of the people, by the people, for the people". It is ours to control with our votes and our voices. We, the American people, ARE government.

Trying to make learning about our great country's election process can be wonderful and interesting adventure for your children.

The U.S. Presidential Election

Since 1788 the people of the United States have had the right to vote for a President. An election takes place every four years and on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. In 2012, the election will take place on November 6.

Did You Know? The original constitution states that the runner-up in the electoral vote should become Vice President. The method of electing the Vice President was changed by the 12th amendment.

The President of The United States of America

• The President has a very important job and selects many people to be part of his Cabinet, including a Vice President. The Cabinet helps him make decisions on how to run the country.
• He is in charge of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.
• He represents the United States and decides how we work with other countries.
• The President suggests laws and signs laws. Sometimes he even rejects laws.
• He is a diplomat and works to help other countries get along.

Who Can Be President?

• The President can be a man or a woman of any race or any religion who was born in the United States and is least 35 years old.
• A person can be President only for eight years (that’s two four-year terms).

How Does a President Get Elected?

• A person running for an elected office, such as the President, is called a candidate.
• Once that person becomes a Presidential candidate, he or she begins a campaign.
• A campaign is a distribution of ideas, believed to be in the best interests of the country, developed by the candidate and expressed through events, speeches and fundraisers.
• A campaign trail is when the candidates travel throughout the United States, giving speeches about their beliefs, meeting people, listening to people, and providing interviews.
• Campaign volunteers put up signs, banners and posters, and make phone calls to convince people to vote for the candidate. They also post videos online and use websites to share their ideas.
• When candidates are not able to travel, they often get attention by advertising on TV, radio, in newspapers, and on the internet. Twelve weeks before the election, the two parties, Democrats and Republicans, each pick a candidate at a special event called a convention. The candidates for President then pick their Vice Presidential running mates.
• One month before the election, the two candidates have several debates where they answer questions about the issues that are important to the people in our country.
• The debates are shown on television and lots of people watch. The debates help voters decide who to vote for.

How Do We Vote?

• You have to be at least 18 years old to vote, be a United States citizen and you must be registered to vote.
• Some people vote by punching a hole in a card, some use computers with touch screens and some people still vote using paper ballots or by putting an X in a box next to the candidate’s name.