How the United States' Presidential Election Works - a guide from the Carnegie Endowment

To help shed light on the fast-approaching U.S. presidential election, Carnegie offers a guide to America’s unique, and often confusing, electoral process.

This new resource provides a concise overview of key dates and concepts from the primary election through the transition—including the two-party system, the difference between “red” states and “blue” states, what electoral votes are, and how candidates compete for and win office.

The United States holds a presidential election every four years. While only American citizens get to vote, the outcome has global implications. Here is how an American presidential election works. Click on the image to the left to launch.