There are many people who would like to become President. From January to June of the election year, the two big parties, Republicans and Democrats, hold primaries in many states. In these primaries, people decide who should become the party's candidate for the presidential election in November.
At the end of the primaries, each party organizes a big party called a convention. Thousands of party members meet and select the candidate who did best in the primaries. At the convention, the candidate also tells the people who will become Vice President if he or she gets elected .
From August to November the candidates of each party travel all over the country, hold speeches and try to get the people to vote for them. On the first Tuesday in November the American people vote for one of the presidential candidates .
In most cases, there are only two candidates, a Republican and a Democrat, but in the last elections candidates from other parties have taken part in the election.
Voting machine at an American election
Image :Douglas W. Jones / CC0
Each state has a certain number of electors. Big states with a large population, like California have many electors (55) and small states, like Hawaii only have a few electors. All together there are 538 electors who get together in the Electoral College.
Candidates often concentrate on the big states with lots of electors. They know that if they win in states like California, New York or Texas they have a good chance of becoming President.
Number of electors of each state in the Electoral College
Image:Original: Cg-realmsDerivative work: Ali Zifan / Public domain
Inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20, 2017
Image: The White House / Public domain