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U.S. Elections

U.S. Elections: Useful Resources


U.S. Election

Background materials for the election and election process in the United States of America:

Free and fair elections are the keystone of any democracy. They are essential for the peaceful transfer of power.

When voters elect representatives, they elect the leaders who will shape the future of their society. This is why elections empower ordinary citizens: They allow them to influence the future policies of their government, and thus, their own future.

The United States has been a representative democracy since the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788—although the electoral tradition began during the colonial era and had its roots in British history. This book discusses the nature of the modern American electoral process and how it works at the federal, state, and local levels. The process, complicated and sometimes confusing, has evolved to ensure universal suffrage to all men and women who are U.S. citizens 18 years of age or older.

For the 2012 Elections, the Foreign Press Centers (FPC) have compiled an impressive list of resources, covering Candidates, Election Calendar, U.S. Election Process and a Glossary of U.S. Election Terms

(The State Department's FPCs seek to promote the “depth, accuracy, and balance of foreign reporting from the U.S.” by providing “direct access to authoritative American information sources.”)

 U.S Elections: 2012 Primary Schedule

USA Elections in Brief

This revised 2012 edition sketches the way primary and general elections work, not only the role of political parties, but also the nuts and bolts of voting machines and poll workers, opinion polls and campaign finance.

USA Elections in Brief Amharic Version (PDF 3.63 MB)

Election Videos

  • What’s an electoral college?

    American University Professor David Lublin discusses the nature of US electoral process and how it works.

  • U.S. Elections: Primaries
    What are primaries? How do they work? Find out how Americans pick their presidential candidates through primaries.
  • Caucuses Explained
    What are caucuses? How do they work? Find out how Americans pick their presidential candidates through caucuses.
  • The Road to the White House
    How does the American presidential election work ? This video explains the start of the process, picking the candidates.
  • U.S. Elections: Conventions
    The Democratic and Republican conventions will take place in America this summer. But, what exactly ARE conventions? What do they achieve? Why and when do they take place? This installment of our video series tells you all you need to know. 

Federal Voting Assistance Program