The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
[The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted.
The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice.
In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.]6
The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States. No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
[In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice-President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.]7
The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them. Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
6 Modified by Amendment XII.
7 Modified by Amendment XXV.
Article II, Section 1 establishes that the president has the power to run the executive branch of the government. This section, later modified by Amendments XII and XXV, outlines who is eligible to serve as president, establishes the Electoral College (the means by which the president and vice president are elected), and authorizes Congress to determine who will replace the president and vice president should they be unable to serve during their term of office.
Article II, Section 1 establishes that the president and vice president are to be elected at the same time and serve the same four-year term. Until 1951, presidents could serve for as many four-year terms as they could win. But after President Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected for four terms, Congress passed and the states ratified Amendment XXII, which limits a president to two terms (eight years) in office. In the rare case that a vice president (or other official) takes over for a president who has stepped down or died in office and serves more than two years of the remaining term, he or she is limited to one new term.
Rather than being elected directly by the people, the president is elected by members of the Electoral College, which is created by Article II, Section 1. It is not really a “college,” but a group of people who are elected by the states. Each state is entitled to the number of electors equal to the combined number of their representatives and senators in Congress.
Neither members of Congress nor other federal officials may serve as electors. Each state legislature decides how members of the Electoral College are to be selected and how they are to vote. For example, some states select electors at primary elections or at caucuses. In most states, electors vote for the presidential candidate who won the vote in their state. The two exceptions are Maine and Nebraska, where a candidate wins one electoral vote for each congressional district that he or she wins and two electoral votes if he or she wins the overall popular vote in the state.The creation of the Electoral College gives more power to the smaller states, rather than letting the people in the most populous states control who becomes president.
Additional rules were added in 1804, when Amendment XII was adopted. For example, the amendment creates the way a president is selected when neither candidate obtains a majority of votes in the Electoral College.
There are three minimum requirements to be elected president: one must be a natural-born citizen of the United States, must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years, and must be at least 35 years old.
Although Article II, Section 1 originally provided who should become president if the president dies, resigns, or is removed from office, Amendment XXV, added in 1967, modified the line of succession.
The president’s salary is set by Congress. To avoid allowing Congress to punish or reward the president while he or she is in office, the Constitution prohibits any change in salary during the president’s term. The president also is prohibited from receiving any other type of compensation or perks while in office.
Before assuming office, the president must swear or affirm to do his or her best to serve as the nation’s leader and to uphold the United States Constitution as the law of the land.