Can Puerto Rico vote for US President

US presidential election

Electoral system: President and Vice-PresidentHouse of Representativessenate

The election of the President of the USA

Electoral system

Indirect election via Electoral College


  • The candidate with the most votes does not necessarily have to get the most voters.
  • Some of the voters are not bound by the vote of the voters.
    This means that a slim majority of 270 or 271 electors does not automatically mean the election for president. After the 2016 election, seven Electoral College voters had not voted for the candidate they were nominated for.
  • Each state has its own voting rules.
    Under certain circumstances, it is even possible that a state parliament votes the electorate without taking into account the election result appoints.
  • winner-takes-all - In most states, all electors come from the highest-voting nomination
  • Fixed deadlines and dates specified by the constitution: There is (outside of these deadlines) neither the possibility of an early election, nor the possibility of reviewing the election in the context of a judicial election review.

Number of voters

The electoral committee consists of 538 Members. The number of voters per state corresponds to the number of representatives in Congress (House of Representatives + Senate). Since every state, regardless of its size, sends two senators to Congress, the distribution of the electorate does not exactly correspond to the population distribution. Small states are thus disproportionately represented. However, this does not offset the effect that large contested states have greater weight in the election campaign than clear strongholds due to the procedure. Each state receives at least three electors. Washington D. C. - although not a federal state - sends three electors (23rd Amendment to the Constitution, see also the distribution among the states).

Elective areas

Each state (and D.C.) forms a closed electoral area. Each state also has its own voting system for its electorate. The rule applies in 48 states and D.C. the winner-takes-all, d. H. all electors go to the list with a relative majority of the state's votes. Make an exception Nebraska and Maine. There are only two electors under the rule the-winner-takes-all elected, the other three voters (2 in Maine, 3 in Nebraska) are elected in the singles constituencies to vote for the House of Representatives. In Nebraska this takes place with a relative majority vote, in Maine in the form of an integrated runoff vote (instant runoff voting).

Electoral term

The term of office of the President is four years. Re-election is only possible once, but he may stand again if re-election has failed. (For example, St. Grover Cleveland is the 22nd and 24th US President, although the two-term limitation has only been in effect since a constitutional amendment in 1947 following the four terms of President Franklin D. Roosevelt). A president who has become vice-president during the electoral term can be re-elected twice if he was president for less than two years in the first term.

Eligibility to vote

active eligible to vote is any American over the age of 18 and resident in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia. The residents of the territories (Guam, Puerto Rico, etc.) (like the residents of D.C. before the 23rd constitutional amendment) do not have the right to vote.
The United States does not have a reporting system, so registration is required to vote in elections. Registration and the associated proof of identity are regulated differently in the individual states. Above all in the states of the “Deep South” there is criticism of restrictive regulations that are suitable for making it more difficult for certain population groups to exercise their right to vote. The states also apply different rules for postal votes and Early voting at.
Selectable is any “natural born citizen” who is at least 35 years old and has lived in the USA for at least 14 years. There are occasional doubts about the exact interpretation of the term “natural born citizen”.

presidential election

Whoever receives an absolute majority (i.e. currently at least 270) of the electoral votes is elected as president. Electors may not elect two candidates from their state in the presidential and vice-presidential elections. This almost became a problem for Bush's VP candidate Cheney in 2000, who had only moved from Texas to Wyoming shortly before the election.

The electors do not have an imperative mandate, which means that they could also elect someone else. Some states do stipulate voting behavior, but there are only minor penalties that cannot change the election result.

If no one wins an absolute majority - as happened in 1824 - the President in the House of Representatives is elected from the three most successful candidates with an absolute majority, with each state having one vote.

If the electors do not elect a Vice-President with an absolute majority, the Vice-President is elected by the Senate from the two Vice-President candidates with the most votes. The (old) Vice President is still President of the Senate, who has the decisive vote in the event of a stalemate.

If a vice-president but no president could be elected, the vice-president becomes president (12th Amendment).

If neither a president nor a vice-president is elected, the speaker of the House of Representatives (if elected as president) would become the incumbent president of the USA (the subordinate substitute president would be the "president pro tempore" of the Senate). The term of office of the incumbent substitute president ends with the qualification of a higher-ranking substitute.

Schedule of the election of the US President

In the USA, elections take place on fixed dates, but there is no possibility of early elections.Instead, the respective succession is precisely regulated in the event of a vacancy. The election date on Tuesday after the 1st Monday in November has historical reasons. In the agrarian society that the United States was in the 18th and early 19th centuries, a date after the harvest, but before the onset of winter, seemed the cheapest. In addition to Sunday (for ideological reasons) and Saturday (mostly market day), the days before and after were also out of the question because of the long journey to and from the polling station that was required in many cases at the time. Thursday is the usual election day in the UK and has therefore been avoided, leaving only Tuesday or Wednesday. In addition to the election date, the long journeys to the polling station in many places have remained a relic from that time.

Presidential elections take place in all years divisible by 4 according to the following schedule:

On the Tuesday after the 1st Monday in November - General Election:

The state's voters choose their electors.

On the Monday after the 2nd Wednesday in December - Meeting of Electors:

Each state's electorate meets in their state to vote for the president and vice president. The votes are signed, sealed and authenticated in "Certificates of Vote" and mailed to the President of the Senate and the archivist of the United States at the seat of government. The electoral body does not meet as a whole. If a state does not succeed in certifying its election results there in good time, the voters of this state are not taken into account. Correspondingly fewer votes are required to elect the President.

On January 6 of the following year, 1 p.m. - Counting Electoral Votes in Congress:

The Congress counts the electoral votes, i. H. the President of the US Senate reads them out.

On January 20th - swearing in:

At high noon (12 noon) the new president and the new vice president are sworn in.

Links to the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 presidential elections