U. S. Government/Voting Registration and Participation

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Voting is a precious right that all citizens who meet certain qualifications have. Voting is also a privilege that citizens should not take lightly. Many people even consider voting a duty.

The requirements for voting are basically the same throughout the country. Voters must be at least 18 year old and United States citizens. They must live in the state, county, and precinct in which they wish to vote. Usually they must also satisfy a residency requirement of a set number of days. This requirement prevents people from voting in one county or state and then traveling to another and voting a second time. People who are imprisoned or on probation for committing a felony are not allowed vote.

Even when people satisfy every requirement above, they can only vote if they are registered. Those who wish to vote for the first time must register at their local city hall, their country courthouse, or another location set up for registration. Cities and countries are divided into a number of precincts. Voters are given a registration card that shows the number of the precinct in which they live. Voters can only vote in their assigned precinct.

People who will be away from home at the time of an election can still vote. Upon their request, they are sent absentee ballots.


Qualifications to register to vote in Virginia
  • Citizen of the United States
  • Resident of Virginia and precinct
  • 18 years of age by day of general election
How to register in Virginia
  • In person at the registrar's office, at the Division of Motor Vehicles, or at other designated sites
  • By mail application
Factors in predicting which citizens will vote
  • Education
  • Age
  • Income
Why citizens fail to vote
  • Lack of interest
  • Failure to register
Responsibiilities of Voters
  • Every vote is important
    • Voting is a basic responsibility of citizenship.
  • Voter registration is required before a citizen may vote.
  • The number of citizens who register and vote is related to how important election issues are to citizens.
  • Only citizens who register can participate in primary and general elections.
  • The percentage of voters who participate in presidential elections i susually greater than the percentage of voters who participate in state and local elections.

Electoral College[edit]

When writing the U.S. Constitution, the Founding Fathers set up a special way for the president to be elected. The president is officially elected by the Electoral College. This college is not a school; it is a group of people from each state called electors who vote to elect the new president. This is the basic procedure for electing a president:

  1. Each political party chooses a group of elecdtors in each state. These electors promise to vote for their party's presidential candidate. The number of electors each state gets is equal to the total number of representatives and senators they have in Congress.
  2. On Election Day, citizens do not vote directly for the president. They vote for the group of electors who have promised to vote for the candidate they want to be the new president.
  3. The Electors who get the most votes represent the state in the Electoral College vote.
  4. In December, the electors from each state vote for the president
  5. The candidate who wins the majority, or more than half, of the electoral votes is the new president. The numbeer of votes each candidate's electors get is called the popular vote. Sometimes a candidatee can win the popular vote but still lose the election because he did not get enough electoral votes.

See also[edit]