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How to Elect a US President

Click on the bases to follow the stages in a US presidential election
4. Election Day

Campaign Primaries
Election Day

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The president is not elected directly by the voters. Each state has a number of Electoral College members who actually vote for the president on behalf of the people. The number of members reflects the state's representation in Congress. Whichever candidate wins the most votes in each state wins all of that state's Electoral College members. The other candidates get none - except in Nebraska and Maine, which award additional votes to candidates with significant proportions of the popular vote. Once a candidate gets a majority of members from across the states, the election is over in the public's mind. But in fact the Electoral College members do formally meet and vote for the president. College members are not legally bound to vote for the winning candidate or according to their party allegiance, but instances when they have not are extremely rare. State results are counted before the full Congress in January