Kids.gov explains the path to the White House with this easy to understand poster. Learn more about the process for electing the president.

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How to Become President of the U.S. Poster

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How to Become President of the U.S. Poster

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The Election Process


A baby stroller with a baby inside.U.S. Constitution's Requirements for a Presidential Candidate

  • At least 35 years old
  • A natural born citizen of the United States
  • A resident of the United States for 14 years

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Step 1: Primaries and Caucuses

A person speaking in front of an audience.There are many people who want to be president. Each of these people have their own ideas about how our government should work. People with similar ideas belong to the same political party, this is where primaries and caucuses come in. Candidates from each political party campaign throughout the country to win the favor of their party members.

  • Caucus: In a caucus, party members select the best candidate through a series of discussions and votes.
  • Primary: In a primary, party members vote for the best candidate that will represent them in the general election.

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A presidential candidate choosing a vice presidential candidateStep 2: National Conventions

Each party holds a national convention to finalize the selection of one presidential nominee. At each convention, the presidential candidate chooses a running-mate (vice presidential candidate).

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Step 3: General Election

People lining up to vote.The presidential candidates campaign throughout the country in an attempt to win the support of the general population.

People in every state across the country vote for one president and one vice president. When people cast their vote, they are actually voting for a group of people known as electors.

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Step 4: Electoral College

A map of the U.S.In the Electoral College system, each state gets a certain number of electors, based on each state's total number of representation in Congress.

Each elector casts one electoral vote following the general election; there are a total of 538 electoral votes. The candidate that gets more than half (270) wins the election.

The president-elect and vice president-elect take the oath of office and are inaugurated in January.

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