Political Elections

The Elections channel includes information on topics related to elections, voting or running for political office. Learn more about presidential debates, the electoral college or the voting system.

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It took just about as much time for the ink to dry on the Declaration of Independence as it did for American politics to become another type of family business. What are 10 of the most successful political dynasties?

By Cristen Conger

Come convention time, you’ll see attendees sporting head-to-toe political regalia. What’s the history of these tiny statement-makers, and which campaign tchotchkes make plain old buttons look dull?

By Cristen Conger

We always hear about major government figures like the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, but who are these people, and how do they help the president? Meet the ladies and gentlemen of the Cabinet.

By Dave Roos

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When it comes to politics, men tend to dominate, with women accounting for only about 10 percent of government leaders internationally. Which female politicians have trail-blazed a path to close that gender gap?

By Cristen Conger

All they had to do was sit back and count the votes. They thought they had the presidential election in the bag -- until they didn't. Here's our list of some of the biggest collapses in presidential campaign history.

By Dave Roos

The use of political attack ads -- those that focus on rivals' shortfalls rather than preferred candidates' achievements -- has shot up in recent years. These negative ads may leave a bad taste in voters' mouths, but are they effective?

By Cristen Conger

Presidential debates aren't really known for their fireworks, but these off-the-cuff moments definitely made sparks fly.

By Dave Roos

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Historically in the United States, third parties have successfully steered political discourse and lawmaking, yet largely haven't stuck around long enough to get their own candidates into office. Which have had the best shot?

By Cristen Conger

The probability of a single vote actually making a difference in a presidential election is one in 60 million. With those kinds of odds, what keeps people going out to the polls?

By Cristen Conger

Lobbying has a long and storied history in American politics, but does it also deserve the bad rap it's taken for so long?

By Dave Roos

For years, pollsters and pundits have puzzled over how U.S. adults decide to cast their votes. Party affiliations and personal stances on electoral issues have a lot to do with it, of course, but does gender play a role, too?

By Cristen Conger

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Campaign ads are designed to grab voters' attention, but what if an ad attracts eyeballs for all the wrong reasons? Here are five of the most offensive campaign ads ever produced.

By Dave Roos

Do you remember boring campaign ads? Of course not. That's why campaigns spend millions of dollars to send messages to voters. Here are five ads that worked -- and that's why we remember them.

By Dave Roos

There may be no perfect way to cast a ballot. Human error, hanging chads, and hackable software -- it seems every voting system has some flaw.

By Wesley Fenlon

Voter suppression has become a hot topic during the 2016 election season, but the practice has a frighteningly long and storied history in the U.S. What is it and how can it affect elections?

By Dave Roos

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If the news is any indication, Americans have officially caught recall fever. Why (and how) are everyday voters taking the extraordinary step of recalling officials they've already elected to their posts?

By Dave Roos

The presidential election season is chock-full of straw polls, caucuses and primaries to determine the nominees for each party, but what's the difference between these things? Do they matter?

By Dave Roos

Almost every day it seems like there is a new poll out tracking the president's performance or some political issue. But who selects the people who respond to these polls? And can you trust the numbers?

By Dave Roos

Sarah Palin has one, and comedian Stephen Colbert does too. But what exactly is a Super PAC, and how will they affect future elections?

By Chris Warren

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The vice presidency was originally a consolation prize given to the runner-up in the national election. More than two centuries later, the role of vice president is little more respected among the public than it was in the beginning.

By Josh Clark

When the framers of the Constitution considered an executive branch, they were still stinging from the despotic rule of King George III. But, they saw the need for a single person to lead. Enter the president of the United States.

By Josh Clark & Melanie Radzicki McManus

Once a president reaches the end of a second term, everyone begins looking for his or her successor. How much influence do so-called lame ducks wield?

By Josh Clark

Would you be more willing to vote if you could sidestep the nuisances of finding the correct polling location and standing in line for hours increase voter participation? E-voting could make it possible.

By Kevin Bonsor & Jonathan Strickland

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Instead of "Democrat or Republican," the more pressing question has become "accurate count or complete debacle?" With e-voting, the entire setup is electronic, not just the actual casting of the vote.

By Julia Layton

In an election year, political conventions take over the U.S. media, with political-party platforms and propaganda. But what real purpose do the conventions serve? And have they outlived their usefulness?

By Ed Grabianowski & Kathryn Whitbourne