Saturday, February 23, 2008

How does the US elect a President?

Even with all my smart, educated friends, I am having difficulty finding anyone who knows how our Presidential election system works! So, I’ll be updating this entry with information to try to sort this out.

Topics to be investigated:
  • How primaries work. The main parties (Republicans and Democrats) changed their primary process in the ’70s which moved influence away from the party heads to a broader audience (listen to “The Presidents: Campaigning and the Primary System,” American Experience).
  • Primaries, party conventions, delegates (and super-delegates), The Election... what is the relationship between all these stages?
  • Electoral college (what?! we the public does not elect the President?!!)
  • Funding? Who can take money from whom?

“CNet's Top 5” has a list of web sites:

  • State government. Most states’ voting is handled by each state’s secretary of state, so they maintain non-partisan information
  • Smartvoter.org — run by the League of Women Voters, a lot of information about how elections work.
  • votesmart.org
  • politicalbase.com — list “issues” and allows commenting on them.
  • Glassbooth.org — “quiz” style approach to helping with choices, along with information resources.

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