Go Vote: Understanding and Participating In United States Elections

October 30, 2018

Whether you’re a frequent voter or you’re a newbie to the voting scene, we could all use a refresher on understanding and participating in United States elections … unless you teach U.S. Government, that is. For those of us who can hardly remember what we had for lunch yesterday, it’s probably time we try to retain at least a little bit of what we learned all those years ago.

To vote, you have to of course, first register … unless you live in North Dakota, the only state that does not require registration! You can register to vote by following the requirements for your particular state. While no two states run their elections the same, the steps to vote are the same in most states. Most states assign you a specific polling place, or voting location, that is close to the address you list on your voter registration. Every state has absentee voting, which means you can still cast your vote even if you can’t make it to your physical polling place on Election Day. In some states, you might need to provide a reason you can’t make it to the polling place. In others, you can vote absentee no matter what. Finally, if you’re busy on Election Day, in some states, you can vote early by casting your vote by mail or in person at the local election official’s office or at another location designated by the local election official. Come prepared on Election Day. Some states require voters to present identification at the polling location.

Members of the House of Representatives stand for re-election every two years. This year, 35 of the 100 Senate seats and all 435 in the House of Representative are up for grabs. Each state is divided into districts and each district votes for one representative. The number of districts depends on the population in each state. For example, California, which has a large population, has 53 representatives in the House. Alaska, on the other hand, has only three representatives since not many people live there! As for the Senate, each state is represented by two Senators, regardless of its population. Senators serve for six years, but elections for Senators are staggered. Every two years, one-third of the Senators run for re-election.

Interested in where congressional districts begin and end? Hang a map to help you remember congressional district boundaries in effect. The map, which is available at the U.S. Government Bookstore, includes county names and boundaries for each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In Presidential voting years, when you vote for the President on the first Tuesday in November every four years, you’re technically not casting your vote for President, but rather an “elector” who pledges to vote for either the Republican Presidential Nominee or the Democratic Presidential nominee in what is known as the Electoral College. Fifty states and the District of Columbia are each assigned a certain number of electors in a system that mirrors Congress: one elector for each of the 435 Representatives, one for each of the 100 Senators, and three electors for the District of Columbia. Each state receives a particular number of electors based on population size. Therefore, every ten years when the Census is conducted, some states might gain or lose electoral votes. In most states, the candidate who gets the majority of the popular vote takes all of its electors. Electors cast their state’s electoral votes in mid-December. A candidate must receive 270 of the 538 electoral votes to become President or Vice President.

Continue this refresher on the Electoral College. Nomination and Election of the President and Vice President of the United States from the GPO Bookstore describes the rules and process for nominating and electing the President and Vice President of the United States. It includes information on the Electoral College and the electoral voting system, as well as the delegate nominating process in the national party conventions.

So Election Day is over. But policymaking is only just getting started! Contact your representatives about issues that matter to you. And use the United States Senate Telephone Directory to do it. Each year the GPO produces this directory. It contains addresses and telephone numbers for United States Senators, Senate committee members, and their staff. Also, it presents information on caucuses, coalitions and bicameral organizations; the House of Representatives; the executive branch; and more.

Be the life of the political party by getting to know your Congressmen and women! The GPO Bookstore also offers a Congressional Pictorial Directory. This handy guide provides a color photograph of each Member of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the 115th Congress and details each Member’s length of service, political party affiliation, and congressional district.

You’re all prepared for the polls. Happy voting!

The GPO Online Bookstore – Easy Access to Federal Publications

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at https://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

Find more than a million official Federal Government publications from all three branches at www.govinfo.gov.

About the author: Blogger contributor Cat Goergen is the PR Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations office.


Headline: Campaign Trails to the United States Federal election process

June 18, 2015

voteThe United Kingdom recently completed their Prime Minister election, and now, the American candidates are aligning for Presidential, Congressional, and Delegate elections to take place in November 2016.

As a result of the candidates’ campaign strategies, many potential voters within the United States of America are beginning to witness campaign advertisements on their local and cable television stations. The news media also has begun their weekly coverage of the nominees’ activities- including their viewpoints on topics currently impacting American culture in the workplace, economy, and personal struggles. Candidate telephone calls and mailings about candidates are beginning to make their way to the general citizen as well, in hopes for their votes in this next pivotal election.

november2016Have you ever wondered how much of this activity is consistent with the actual U.S. Federal election process?

To fact check what you hear through numerous news media programs, you can review Title 11 Federal Elections, Code of Federal Regulations volume (available in printed paperback at this link: http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/869-082-00031-7. This book opens with the coverage of the Sunshine Act regulations and meetings for this commission. According to Wikipedia, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_in_the_Sunshine_Act), “ the Sunshine Act (Pub. L. 94-409) enacted September 13, 1976, 5 USC 552b (PDF can be found here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2012-title5/pdf/USCODE-2012-title5.pdf) is a law passed in 1976 that affects the operations of the Federal Government, Congress, Federal commissions and other legally constituted bodies. It is one of a number of Freedom of Information Acts, intended to create greater transparency in government.”

cfr title 11In addition to the public records that are available through the Freedom of Information Act, this volume also covers all items relating to the election process of The Presidential election for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States, plus the Congress- US House of Representatives, United States Senate, and Delegates as it relates to the U.S. Federal election process.

Some specific areas of the U.S. Federal election process included in this regulatory work are:

  • candidate nominees with possible party affiliations, and their responsibilities
  • campaign committees are defined
  • potential candidate personal income funds, including stocks, and other investments, income from trusts, gifts of a personal nature, and jointly owned assets by the candidate and their spouse are detailed
  • Contributions, such as loans, fundraiser or political event attendance, compensation for personal services for employees employed as part of the political activities,
  • And much more

Americans can gain insights to some past election campaigns of their elected officials by reading or reviewing the following titles in the Congressional Minority election collection series published by the US House of Representatives:

front-cover-sm-01Hispanic Americans in Congress, 1822-2012 available in printed paperback at: http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/052-071-01567-1

Printed Hardcover format to utilize as a reference for years to come: http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/052-071-01563-9

ePub eBook to download to a digital smartphone or tablet device:

http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/052-300-00008-8

MOBI eBook to download to a Kindle digital e-reader or tablet device:

http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/052-300-00008-8

These volumes are also part of the Minority series compiled and produced by the U.S. House of Representatives:

Women in Congress, 1917-2008– printed hardcover edition http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/052-070-07480-9

Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007 in printed paperback edition

http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/052-070-07520-1

To find public documents about the first days and months of a new President, you can refer to the Public Presidents of the United States series volumes, published by the National Archives and Records Administration, Office of the Federal Register. Here are a few volumes to get your reading started with first term presidential history. Students at all levels doing comparative politics or history research papers may wish to review the State of the Union addresses in each of these volumes to obtain information about past Presidents’ initiatives for the United States of America.

First Term, Barack Obama

069-000-00184-0Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Barack Obama, 2009, Book 1 in cloth edition format can be purchased here: http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/069-000-00184-0

In ePub eBook file format can be found here: http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/069-300-00002-2

First Term, George W. Bush

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, George W. Bush, 2001, Book 1, January 20 to June 30, 2001

http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/069-000-00147-5

First Term, William J. Clinton

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, William J. Clinton, 1993, Book 1, January 20 to July 31, 1993

http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/069-000-00057-6

James (Jimmy) Carter

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Jimmy Carter, 1977, Book 1, January 20 to June 24, 1977

http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/069-000-00111-4

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

To obtain the resources mentioned in this blog, click on the links above.

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: This week’s blog contributor is Maureen Whelan, Senior Marketing Team Leader for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales program office in Washington, DC. Maureen oversees print and digital content dissemination strategy and manages third party free and paid content distribution through platforms and vendors, such as Apple iBookstore, Barnes and Noble.com, Google Play eBookstore, Ebscohost databases, Overdrive, and more.


Vote for the top Government news story of 2011

December 26, 2011

2011 was a momentous year in Federal Government-related news and as such, it was a banner year for important Government publications, as demonstrated by our 2011 Year in Review collection available from the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO).

But which Government news story was the most significant, in your opinion? Vote in our poll below, and then see the publications that follow that relate to these important stories:

Note 1:As of January 27, 2012, this poll is NOW CLOSED with the final results showing above, but feel free to click on the SHARE THIS link to pass on the results to others.
Note 2: This is a non-scientific user poll. Results are not statistically valid and cannot be assumed to reflect the views of the Government Printing Office customer as a group or the general population.

Following are the Federal Government publications that relate to each of these important 2011 stories:

2011 News Story   Related Federal Publication(s)
9/11 tenth anniversary   Ten years have passed since that tragic day, but the memories are still strong. 2011 saw some excellent publications about that day, including a 10th anniversary edition of Pentagon 9/11 and a reprinting of the 9/11 Commission Report, all of which you can find in our 9/11 Collection: A Decade of Remembrance.

Assassination of Osama bin Laden  FBI Terrorism Research and Analysis Project (TRAP) A Navy SEALS team located and killed Osama bin Laden this year, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks and many other Al Qaeda and insurgent terrorist attacks. This 2011 publication, Terrorism Research and Analysis Project (TRAP): A Collection of Research Ideas, Thoughts, and Perspectives, V. 1analyzes causes and possible responses to terrorism as presented at the FBI Terrorism Research and Analysis Project (TRAP) Symposium of international academics and law enforcement personnel.

Death of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il   The recent death of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Il, marks an uncertain time for the Korean Peninsula and the entire region. North Korea: A Country Studyreviews the history and the dominant social, political, economic, and military aspects of contemporary North Korea before this.

Deep Water BP Gulf oil disaster report  Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling, Report to the President, January 2011 In January of this year, the National Commission on the BP (British Petroleum) Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling released its controversial Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling, Report to the President, January 2011. This best-selling publication offers the fullest account available of what happened in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010 and why, and proposes actions, changes in company behavior, reform of government oversight, and investments in research and technology that will be required to avert future disasters.

End of the war in Iraq  Battleground Iraq: Journal of a Company Commander There is an interesting White House timeline about the Iraq war at the end of which is a link to the Joining Forces initiative with which one can express one’s support for the troops. GPO’s bookstore has a number of books about Iraq, but two stand out as best-sellers. Battleground Iraq: Journal of a Company Commander gives a realistic account by Major Todd Brown of his experiences as a U.S. Army company commander in Iraq from April 2003 to March 2004. Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experienceexamines the Iraq reconstruction experience, and provides 13 take-away lessons for future contingency relief and reconstruction operations.

  • Buy them in our online bookstore:

a)      Battleground Iraq: Journal of a Company Commander

b)      Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience

Japan earthquake and tsunami  Field Operations Guide for Foreign Disaster Assessment and Response Natural disasters were big in the news this year, and the Federal Government was involved in responding to them, from the National Guard in the U.S. to foreign response teams overseas. For example, in response to the tragic earthquake and resulting tsunami and nuclear reactor problems in Japan, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) that included disaster response experts, urban search and rescue teams, and nuclear experts from the U.S. Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Field Operations Guide for Disaster Assessment and Responseis used by USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) for DART teams and other disaster assistance personnel when responding to foreign disasters like the Japan situation.

Last Space Shuttle flight  NASA and Space Shuttle publications including "Wings-in-Orbit" 2011 marked the end of NASA’s three-decade long space shuttle program when, on July 21, the final space shuttle mission ended with the shuttle Atlantis rolling to a stop at its home port, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA has published a number of terrific books about the program which you can find in our NASA and Space Shuttle Publications, along with a new set of beautiful color bookmarks, one for each shuttle and the best-selling Wings in Orbitbook.

U.S. economy and the Federal budget  Books about Government and Politics, including the Federal Budget and the Economy It seems every newscast this year has covered the US economy, Federal Government budgets and deficits and differing opinions about options to address them. You can find the President’s original budget submission published this year and subsequent analyses and responses to it in our collection of Books about the Government and Politics, including the Federal Budget and the Economy.

How can you find even more Federal Government publications? We have assembled many collections of Federal publications on our year-round Gift Guide and in our Special Collections page on GPO’s online bookstore.

About the Author: Michele Bartram is Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (Bookstore.GPO.Gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public. 

 


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