The base level of government office is at the local level. Generally, this refers to the elections of a town, county, or other municipality. People elected to these offices have authority over their municipality, and that’s it. It’s up to each town to decide which offices are elected, but common ones include the sheriff, city council members, the mayor, and members of the school board. Local representatives are selected by a process of direct election. This simply means that the candidate with the most votes wins.
Next are state government positions. These are important jobs with lots of power, as the United States Constitution grants any power not expressly given to the federal government to be under the authority of state governments.
Currently, every state in the USA directly elects its governor (the head of the state executive branch) as well as the representatives to the state legislature. In some states, members of the state judicial branch are elected, but generally these positions are appointed by the governor or legislature. Most other positions within the state government are appointed ones, so voters need to elect legislators and governors who will make wise appointments and fill the government with credible officials.
Finally, we get to the national elections, those in which all citizens of the nation can vote. Realistically, there’s only one national election that we need to talk about: the presidency. The President is the leader of the executive branch of the federal government and the highest elected office in the nation.
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