ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS
Have a question regarding America's government, politics, history, or anything else? Let us know and we'll respond here!
HOW CAN I REGISTER TO VOTE?
You can register to vote both online and on a print-out application! Go to Vote.gov, which partnered with the U.S. Election Commission Assistance. Just go to the site, input your state or territory, and follow the directions! If you prefer to register on paper, National Voter Registration Application PDF tells you how to do so (available on the website after you input your state or territory).
HOW DOES THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS WORK?
At its simplest, the process is as follows: (1) The issue is introduced to the House of Representatives, often with involvement from the House Judiciary Committee (2) after the House votes to authorize an impeachment investigation. That is when (3) the Judiciary Committee conducts hearings and draws up articles of impeachment, and (4) the House votes on the articles. If a simple majority votes to impeach the politician, (5) the articles are sent to the Senate. Finally (6), the Senate conducts a trial over which the Chief Justice presides and if the politician is convicted on a two-thirds vote, the politician is formally removed from office and prohibited from ever holding public office again.
ARE DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS THE ONLY POLITICAL PARTIES?
No! Although America runs most efficiently as a two-party system, that doesn't mean other parties don't exist. There have been many political parties throughout U.S. history that no longer exist. Now, the most well-known minor parties today are the Green Party, the Libertarian Party and the Constitutional Party.
ARE THE DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS MORE POLARIZED THAN USUAL?
Yes. In fact, according to Pew Research Center, the two major political parties are more split than they have been at any point in the last twenty years. The differences in views are actually most evident in politically active people of each party. Political ideologies now have an impact on all aspects of life, ranging from news and social media to even farming and cooking techniques.
HOW LONG ARE THE TERMS FOR CONGRESSPEOPLE?
Article I of the U.S. Constitution outlines the legislative branch, or Congress. For Representatives, the term is two years. For Senators, the terms are six-years, but the election cycles rotate so that in any one election year only about a third of the Senate is up for reelection.
HOW DOES THE GOVERNMENT DECIDE HOW MANY SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN GO TO WASHINGTON D.C. FROM EACH STATE?
The legislative branch was set up as a bicameral by the framers of America to appease leaders from all states, weighing the interests of smaller states and larger states (in population) relatively equally. Each state sends two Senators to D.C. while the amount of Representative they send is determined by the population of each state.
HOW MANY U.S. CONGRESSPEOPLE ARE THERE?
Currently, there are 100 congresspeople serving in the Senate and 435 serving in the House of Representatives. This makes a total of 535.
HOW CAN I GET MORE INVOLVED IN MY COMMUNITY?
For many volunteer opportunities, you don't need a special degree or even to be a certain age. Check out the "Get Involved" page! It offers many great opportunities for you, as well as a link that will direct you to volunteerism within your specific community.
WHAT IF PEOPLE IN MY COMMUNITY WON'T HEAR MY VOICE BECAUSE I AM TOO YOUNG?
If people don't hear your voice, then make them listen! You can do this through action; organize a local rally in your school or city, start a club, join a protest, plan fundraisers. Just because people don't listen to your voice now doesn't mean you won't make change. Every single voice, every little action makes a difference, whether you impact just your friends or spread a movement to thousands.
WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT POLITICS?
Politics impacts our everyday life, from how much the tax is on a Target purchase to your school budget to how old you have to be to get a driver's license to how much you get paid at your job. Young people are literally the future, and you should be able to know what is happening now that will impact the rest of your life. Being passionate about politics is how you can help build a world that you and those close to you will thrive in. So get out there and find your voice!