Every two years in the United States there are national elections for members of the U.S. Congress and for governors of states. Every four years these contests include an election for President of the United States. This year is a presidential election year which concludes with a general election in November of 2016.
The election season always seems long, but it's especially long when it involves the election of a President. Campaigns begin in the year before the election. Candidates from each of the two main political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, raise money and assemble campaign staff. They visit many different cities and states, shake hands with voters, and make speeches.
The media pay close attention to what the candidates have to say. Newspaper reporters, TV journalists, and other political correspondents listen to speeches and candid remarks from the candidates, and then report that information to the general public. Some of what the candidates say may be misleading or untrue. Reporters try to find the truth. The news media are an important part of the election process.
There are debates, primary elections, and caucuses before the big general election in November. Candidates debate each other within each party. Democrats debate against other Democrats. Republicans debate against other Republicans. The goal is to attract the largest amount of support prior to the primary elections and caucuses that are held in each state. The state of Iowa votes first. Then the residents of New Hampshire vote, and after that the remaining states and territories get their chance to vote. These state elections are an important part of the nominating process as they help to determine who the official candidates will be.
During the summer of an election year, the two main political parties hold conventions. The conventions are where the nomination process concludes and candidates are officially chosen and announced. Delegates from each state announce their support for the nominee of their political party. There are few surprises at the conventions, but they are televised and many people like to watch what happens there.
Prior to the general election in November, the main candidates, usually a Democrat and a Republican, debate each other on the issues. They visit different areas of the country to make speeches and meet with voters. Candidates campaign hard during this two or three-month period of time. On almost every day there is a newsworthy event or speech, so the voters pay close attention.
Finally, in November, on the second Tuesday of the month, elections are held. No one know for sure who is going to win, but there are always a lot of predictions. Whom do you think is going to win the election for President this year? Whom do you want to win?
Now you try it. Read the story above. If you have a microphone, you can record your voice.