If I Ran For President
By Catherine Stier, Lynne Avril
ALBERT WHITMAN & Company Copyright © 2007 Catherine Stier
All rights reserved.
It's fun to imagine running for the highest office in the land—and maybe becoming president of the United States of America. After all, the president is famous, makes lots of important decisions, and lives in a really cool mansion.
There are rules written in our Constitution about who can be president. A person must be thirty-five years old, so a kid really couldn't be president. Also, a person running for president must be a citizen who was born in the United States and has lived here for at least fourteen years. That's it! You can be president if you are a man or a woman. You can be president whether your parents were born in the United States or anywhere else in the world.
When citizens vote in November every four years, they are not voting directly for president and vice-president even though they mark their candidates' names on the ballot. They are voting for a group of people from their state called electors. In December, the electors cast their states' official votes (called electoral votes) for president and vice-president. The formal announcement of the winners is not until January, but usually it's clear on election night in November who has won.
Each elector votes for the candidates who won the people's vote (called the popular vote) in his or her state. Each state has a set number of electors, equal to the number of its senators and representatives in Congress. Altogether, there are 538 electors (including 3 for Washington, D.C., although it is not a state). When a candidate has received 270 electoral votes, he or she has won the presidential or vice-presidential election. This complicated system, which we call the electoral college, is outlined in the Constitution.
Running for president is surely an exhausting but exciting time for a candidate. And who knows? Perhaps someday you will "toss your hat in the ring" to run for president of the United States of America! (Continues...)
Excerpted from If I Ran For President by Catherine Stier, Lynne Avril. Copyright © 2007 Catherine Stier. Excerpted by permission of ALBERT WHITMAN & Company.
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