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On November 3, 2020, Americans will vote in the election for the next President of the United States.Each state has a number of "electoral votes"", depending on the state's representatives to Congress (based on population of the state) and each state's two senators. Additionally, the District of Columbia has 3 electors. That means there are a total of 538 electors. The presidential election is actually a state by state election. A citizen casts his/her vote and the candidate that wins for each state gets either ALL or most of that state's electoral votes. To win, you need at least 270 electoral votes. The Electoral College(not really a building) votes in December where the electors cast their votes for president. Although the electors USUALLY vote the way of their state election, there have been a couple of times when an elector does not. 

If a candidate wins by large majorities in some states, he/she may have more popular votes but may not win the 270 electoral votes to be declared the next president. It has happened FIVE times, most recently in the 2016 election, where a candidate with the most popular votes (majority of voters picked that candidate) lost the election due to electoral votes.


1. Did you know that George Washington was elected UNANIMOUSLY?It was the only time this has ever happened in a Presidential election!

2. In the election between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson(1800),there was actually a TIE for electoral votes and the House of Representatives determined the winner of the election.

3. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected FOURtimes and was the only president to have served for so many terms of office. Fearing a monarchy,the Constitution was changed(1951) limiting a presidential term to two terms(8 years).This was the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution.

4. It would take a while to determine the winner of the 2000 election between George Bush and Al Gore. The state of Florida originally went for Gore giving Gore the WIN in the Electoral votes BUT then there was a recount of Florida ballots. The Supreme Court stepped in and said the election went to George Bush.

5. In 2016, Hillary Clinton had over 3 million more votes (48.2 percent to 46.1 percent)than Donald Trump. However, Trump had more electoral votes(306 to 232) and was thus, the winner of the presidential election.

6. Grover Cleveland was the only president to serve two non-consecutive (not in a row) termsElected in 1884, he lost his re-election bid in 1888. He ran again in 1892 and won his second term.

7. Did you know that only 13 presidents have been elected to serve two terms(and serve out their complete term)?

8. Did you know that astronauts at the International Space Station CAN and DO vote in the elections using secure email from space?

9 .At one time the person with the most votes became the president and the person with the second highest amount of votes became Vice President. Can you think of how this might cause problems? After 1804, this rule changed.

10 . Name calling by candidates is nothing new. Stephen A. Douglas called Abraham Lincoln, "two-faced"". Lincoln replied, "If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one?""

11. The first woman to run for president was Victoria Woodhull (1872), before women could even vote(1920). Her Vice Presidential running mate was abolitionist and orator, Frederick Douglass.

12. The only person to be Vice President AND President and never have been elected by the people was Gerald Ford!

13. Most electoral votes are given in total to the winner of the state voting. However, the states of Nebraska and Maine split up the electoral votes among the candidates. THAT is why your vote matters. In New York, there are 29 electoral votes. Even if the winner of the state wins by a few votes, ALL 29 electoral votes go to the winner.

14. The electoral voting for President, by the Electoral College, takes place in the month of December, the first Monday after the second Wednesday!

15. Women got the right to vote in 1920. Native Americans didn't get the right to vote until 1924 (and some states prevented Native Americans from voting until the 1940s.)

16. In the 2016 presidential election, 54.87 % of voters came out to cast a ballot! (129,085,410 of the 235,248,000 eligible voters)

Your Turn:

  1. What are three character traits that a president should have?

2. What is an issue that you would like to see thenext president work to accomplish?

3. What do you think of the Electoral College vs. the popular vote to elect a president?

4.There are some people calling for Election Day to be a national holiday, so people don't have to worry about missing work to vote. What do you think of this idea?

5. Do you think a president should be a role model for young people?

Teacher Page:

1. How the electoral College Works: https://ourwhitehouse.org/getting-the-votes-and-getting-elected-the-popular-vote-vs-the-electoral-college/

2. Check out some presidential campaign slogans: https://www.thoughtco.com/top-presidential-campaign-slogans-104625 Have students illustrate one of the slogans.Both the candidates for the 2020 have used several slogans. One used by Donald Trump is Make America Great Again. Joe Biden has used Build Back Better.

3. https://www.usa.gov/election Posters on the process of electing a President of the USA

4.Have students review a map of which states have the most electoral votes and which have the least.https://electoralvotemap.com

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Check out these resources during Election Time:

1. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/ELECTION-Process-How-do-we-Elect-a-President-A-Webquest-Distance-Learning-2695264 How do We Elect a President?

2. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Inauguration-Day-A-Webquest-2870347 Inauguration Day, Webquest

3. Presidential Trivia, A Webquest: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Presidents-A-Presidential-Webquest-338700

4. The White House: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/White-House-Learn-about-the-White-HouseA-webquest-359868

5. First Ladies, A Webquest: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/First-Ladies-of-the-United-States-Webquest-604151

6. Presidential Challenge. How much do you know about our presidents? https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Presidential-Facts-To-Challenge-Your-Students-2586425

7. BOOM Cards: PRESIDENTS: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Boom-Cards-Presidential-TRIVIA-5717725