Election year preparation
“A simplified list of the very basics in U.S. government to help citizens prepare for the upcoming election process.”
By Rebekkah Kemp
Are you ready for another election year? When I talk with members of the digital generation (ages 15-25 or so) I am surprised at the lack of general knowledge of our own government. Some complain that they don’t know what’s going on in the news and even when they try to read up on it, there are too many things they don’t understand. If this sound like you these basics will help you remember what you learned back in your Civics class in middle or high school and you will be able to jump back on the election year horse!
- There is a presidential election every four years. There are also other elections at federal, state, and local levels, but they are not necessarily every four years.
- There are three branches of government: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. These are big words for: President, Congress, and Court System.
- Checks and Balances is actually the name of the rulebook for the three branches. Our founding fathers worried that one branch would gain more power than others, so they found a way to make sure that all branches could check on the other two and vice versa.
- The House of Representatives and the Senate are part of the Congress system. The amount of Senators from every state is equal, but the amount of Representatives is based on a state’s population.
- GOP means “Grand Old Party.” It’s like a nickname for the Republican Party.
- There are two main groups, referred to as “parties,” that select a candidate for presidency. They are the Democrat and Republican parties. There are other parties, as well, but these are the main ones.
- A President can only serve two terms (that is eight years total). He also has to be at least 35 years old, born a U.S. citizen, and have lived in the U.S. for at least 14 years.
- Anyone who is 18 and older and registered can vote.
- The “electoral college,” is a group of people who also vote on Presidents. Anyone in the Electoral College is voted into place by the general public. For more information you can go to http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/about.html.
- Go to http://www.youthink.com/quiz.cfm?obj_id=116407 to take a quiz and see if you know the “basics,” of our government. Good luck!
Hopefully this short list of reminders will help you use all of your rights efficiently when voting for our next president. Happy voting!