Election Process

The road to the White House is a long one, beginning more than a year before the first votes are cast. This section includes resources to help your students learn about the election process including the Electoral College, caucuses, primaries, conventions and more.

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How Presidents Get Elected

Learn what the powers of the president of the United States are, as defined in the U.S. Constitution. From appointing judges and granting pardons, to vetoing laws and acting as the nation's chief diplomat on foreign policy, the commander in chief is a pretty powerful person, but actually not as powerful as you might think. The constitution limits presidential powers to maintain balance among the three branches of government. Check out the full video on PBS LearningMedia here.

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Election Process Basics

There are a lot of people in the U.S, and holding individual issues up to a public vote doesn't seem particularly plausible. To deal with this complexity, we vote for people, not policies, that represent our best interests. But as you'll see, this process was not thoroughly addressed in the constitution, so there have been a number of amendments and laws at the state level implemented to create the election system we all know and (maybe) love today. Check out the full video on PBS LearningMedia here.

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Political Campaign Basics

Political campaigns are a pretty big deal in the United States. For instance, the 2012 presidential election clocked in at the most expensive ever-at around $6 billion dollars! Needless to say, money plays a very big role in American elections. Here we take a look at why we have campaigns in the first place, why the campaign seasons run for so long, and why campaigns cost so much. Check out the full video on PBS LearningMedia here.

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Roles of Political Parties in the Election Process

In this video, we discuss political parties and their role in American politics. When most people think about political parties, they associate them with the common ideologies of the voters and representatives within that party. The role of political parties is much simpler: to win control of the government. Check out the full video on PBS LearningMedia here.

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Election Foundations

In this video, students are introduced to why we have presidential elections in the United States. They will learn what a constitutional democracy is and how the government gets its power from the consent of its citizens. They will understand the important principles of the U.S. Constitution, the foundations of government and the importance of civic participation.

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The General Election

Every four years, voters across the United States cast ballots to decide who will be the next president. This video helps students to make sense of the American election process by learning how citizens decide who to vote for in the election, the importance of the electoral college, and how swing states affect the outcomes of an election.