Exploros_logo

Selection and Succession of the President

According to the Constitution, the President serves a four-year term of office. The 22nd Amendment limits a President to two terms, and the President may not serve more than a total of ten years. The Constitution also created an electoral college to select the President.

The American people do not technically elect their President. Electors do.

A special body of electors is selected by the states. The number of electors is equal to the sum of a state’s Senators and Representatives, so that large states have more electors than the small ones.

It is possible for a President to win a majority of the popular vote and still lose the election. If a candidate wins a number of states with large electoral college members by small pluralities and carries enough states with small electoral college members to gain the necessary 270 electoral college votes, it is possible for a candidate to receive less popular votes than an opponent, and yet win the Presidential election.

The 25th Amendment, adopted in 1967, defines the policy of presidential succession.

Section 1: In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2: Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Section 3: Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Section 4: Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.


Source: Selection and Succession of the President
Copyright ©2008-2021 ushistory.org, owned by the Independence Hall Association in Philadelphia, founded 1942.

Back to top