作者:Emma Martin, a student who moved to China in 2011, fell in love with the country almost immediately and hasn't wanted to leave since! She's currently studying Political Science and Global China Studies at Shanghai New York University (上海纽约大学). Emma has been tutoring English of all ages for 4 years now, with a special interest in higher level English. Two of her passions include blogging and freelance jounalism!

If you’ve read the previous article “U.S. Political System in a Nutshell,” you know how important democracy is in the United States. While some countries ruled by a dictator do not have elections, the U.S. is a democracy and most certainly holds elections. Elections are extremely significant in that it gives citizens their constitutional right to vote for leaders to represent them on a local, state, and federal level.

如果你读过前一篇文章“美国政治制度一览”( U.S. Political System in a Nutshell,),你就会知道民主在美国是多么重要。虽然一些专制统治的国家没有选举,但美国作为民主国家,肯定会举行选举。选举具有极其重要的意义,因为它赋予公民在地方、州和联邦各级选举他们的领导人的宪法权利。

Who can participate in elections?

People who are able to elect leaders are called voters. No matter one’s race, ethnicity, sex, or age (anyone over 18), one can vote as it is one’s constitutional right. With that being said, some states have different laws that prohibit some people from voting, for example, felons or convicted criminals.

谁可以参加选举?

能够参选领导人的人被称为选民。无论种族、民族、性别或年龄(18岁以上的人),人民都可以投票,因为这是宪法赋予他的权利。话虽如此,某些州有不同的法律剥夺了一些人的投票权,例如重罪犯或被已被定罪的罪犯。

How do elections take place?

如何进行选举?

● State and Local Level

On a state and local level, people cast their vote directly for the candidate they wish to represent them. On a state level, one may cast one’s vote to elect an upcoming governor, while on a local level for example, one may cast one’s vote to elect a mayor or other local officials. People go to the polls, fill out their ballot for the person or people they wish to vote for to represent them, and the total amount of votes are tallied up at the end to decide who wins.

● 州和地方一级

在州和地方一级,人们直接投票支持他们支持的候选人。在州一级,人们可以投票选举即将上任的州长;而在地方一级,人们直接投票选举市长或其他地方官员。形式为投票时填写选票,写出他们心目中的候选者。总票数在投票结束时计算出来,最终决定谁是赢假。

● Congress: House of Representatives and Senate

国会:众议院和参议院

Congress is divided into the House and the Senate and is in charge of making the laws. Therefore, Congress has a big responsibility to ensure laws represent the American people. Like at a state and local level, citizens directly vote their congressional leaders. Americans elect one third of Senate leaders and all 435 members of the House during midterm elections, or the halfway mark until the upcoming Presidential election. House of Representatives hold two year terms while Senators hold six year terms.

国会分为参众两院,负责制定法律。因此,国会在确保法律代表美国人民方面负有重大责任。和在州和地方选举一样,公民直接选举他们的国会领导人。美国人在中期选举中选出三分之一的参议院领袖和全部435名众议员,或者是即将到来的总统选举的中间点。众议院任期两年,参议员任期六年。

A current Senator I’m keeping up with is Cory booker, a Democratic Senator from New Jersey. As the first African American Senator representing the state of New Jersey, Booker often sticks up for minorities and their rights. He is a hot topic in the U.S. news at the moment due to his outspoken opinion on Donald Trump’s nominee for the newly appointed, extremely conservative Supreme Court leader, Brett Kavanaugh.

笔者也有自己心目中的参议员,目前被现任参议员、来自新泽西州的民主党参议员科里·布克圈粉。作为代表新泽西州的第一位非洲裔参议员,布克经常为美国少数民族的权利而抗争。他直言不讳地抨击了唐纳德·特朗普提名的新任命的、极端保守的最高法院领袖布雷特·卡瓦诺夫,同时该话题也成为了美国新闻界的热门话题。

● Federal Level

Unlike voting for one’s mayor or next Senator directly, voters indirectly vote for the President and Vice President. The President is elected through a system called the Electoral College. So while a Senator may get the popular vote and win, the President may not always get the popular vote and win (ex: the case with the 2016 election). The U.S.’s founding fathers first implemented the Electoral College in 1789 to prevent a state with a bigger population to continuously pick  leaders. Nevertheless, the founding fathers were concerned that ordinary people may not have had the capacity to make intelligent decisions regarding who to elect.

● 联邦一级选举

与直接选举市长或下一任参议员不同,选民间接投票给总统和副总统。总统是通过一个叫做选举人团的制度选举出来的。因此,虽然参议员可能因为普选票数优势并获胜,但总统可能并不总是能获得普选优势并获胜(例如:2016年选举的情况)。美国的开国元勋在1789年首次实施了选举人团制度,以防止一个人口较多的州重复产生国家领导人。开国元勋们同时担心,普通人可能没有能力就选举谁作出明智的决定。

Electoral College Process

The process of the Electoral College begins when citizens go to the polls and fill out their ballot for the Presidential candidate and whichever candidate has the most votes wins a certain amount of electoral votes. The amount of electoral votes the Presidential candidate gets depends on the state. Some states with a larger population such as California, New York, and Texas get a larger number of electoral votes while states with a smaller population such as many midwestern states get a smaller number of electoral votes. For example, in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton received the majority of votes from California, obtaining 55 electoral votes. Donald Trump on the other hand, won the majority of electoral votes in Texas and received 38 votes, and also won almost all midwestern states. Whatever candidate reaches 270 total electoral votes wins the Presidential election. Therefore, in the end, Trump received more electoral votes and won regardless of Clinton’s win of the popular vote.

选举团进程

根据美国选举制度,美国总统由选举人团选举产生,并非由选民直接选举产生,获得半数以上选举人票者当选总统。选民在大选日投票时,不仅要在总统候选人当中选择,而且要选出代表50个州和华盛顿特区的538名选举人,以组成选举人团。绝大多数州和华盛顿特区均实行“胜者全得”(winner-take-all)规则,即把本州或特区的选举人票全部给予在本州或特区获得相对多数选民票的总统候选人。当选的选举人必须宣誓在选举人团投票时把票投给在该州获胜的候选人。因此大选结果通常在大选投票日当天便可根据各州选举结果算。赢得270张或以上选举人票的总统候选人即获得选举胜利。一些人口较多的州,如加利福尼亚、纽约和得克萨斯州,会有较多的选举人票,许多中西部州,则选举人票较少。例如,在2016年的选举中,希拉里·克林顿获得了来自加利福尼亚州的多数选票,获得了55张选举人票。另一方面,唐纳德.特朗普(Donald Trump)在德克萨斯州赢得了多数选票,获得了38票,另外也赢得了几乎所有中西部州的选举人票。因此,尽管希拉里赢得了普选,特朗普最终还是赢得了更多的选举人票,最终当选总统。

Continue to read more articles in my U.S. politics series to find out who I voted for in the 2016 election and why!

有兴趣的读者请follow我们的美国政治系列文章,接下来我们的Emma学姐会继续介绍她2016年大选中投了谁的票,以及为什么。