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Presidential Elections 2012

For your convenience, this page provides access to carefully selected websites offering comprehensive and accurate information.

Upcoming events in the electoral race

Presidential Debates

  • First presidential debate: Domestic Policy
    Wednesday, October 3, 2012
    University of Denver, Denver, CO
  • Vice presidential debate: Foreign and Domestic Policy
    Thursday, October 11, 2012
    Centre College, Danville, KY
  • Second presidential debate (town meeting format): Foreign & Domestic Policy
    Tuesday, October 16, 2012
    Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
  • Third presidential debate: Foreign Policy Monday
    October 22, 2012
    Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL  

Election Day is on November 6, 2012.

Keeping Current

The United States Department of State has Foreign Press Centers in Washington, D.C. and New York. The Foreign Press Centers support U.S. policies by helping foreign media cover the U.S.
The section on the 2012 Elections includes timely updates and background information.

The Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) created an Elections 2012 website including latest news and a countdown.

Party Conventions 2012

The Democratic Party convened September 3 to 6 in Charlotte, North Carolina

The Republican Party gathered in Tampa, Florida, August 27 to 30.

Full Text Publications

USA Elections in Brief, cover

USA Elections in Brief, cover

USA Elections in Brief
This revised 2012 edition sketches the way primary and general elections work, not only the role of political parties, but also the nuts and bolts of voting machines and poll workers, opinion polls and campaign finance. Pull up articles individually or open the full publication in PDF format. (January 2012)

American Editorial Cartoons!
Since the first political cartoon by Benjamin Franklin was published in colonial America, editorial cartoons have continued to appear in newspapers, commenting on and sometimes influencing the course of events, as author Stephen Hess recounts. (July 2012)

CRS Reports

Reference Resources

A Glossary of U.S. Election Terms
IIP Digital, December 28, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions on Political Conventions
IIP Digital
, June 1, 2012

U.S. Elections: 2012 Primary Schedule
IIP Digital, June 6, 2012

U.S. Elections: Frequenty Asked Questions
IIP Digital, November 1, 2011

Articles and News Coverage

U.S. Elections News
by U.S. Embassy London
This page links to all articles published by IIP Digital.

U.S. Elections 2012
- Dossier by the U.S. Embassy in Brussels -
"Free and fair elections are the keystone of any democracy. They are essential for the peaceful transfer of power. The United States has been a representative democracy since the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788 — although the electoral tradition began during the colonial era and had its roots in British history."

Many of the media outlets already have their special sections in place. Here are some examples:

National Media:

International Media

Audio-Visual Resources

The U.S. Embassy in London produces a series of video clips. Please see box on the right for individual titles.

Key Dates in U.S. Voting Rights
Photo gallery; IIP Digital, October 31, 2011

Ads from the candidate campaigns, national organizations, outside groups and grassroots. In addition the gaffes, the buzz, the debates, speeches, interviews and rallies.

Teaching Resources

Election 2012
by Scholastic Update

Elections the American Way
Library of Congress; For Teachers

U.S. Electoral College Teaching Resources
U.S. National Archives and Records Admininstration

Linkstipps zur US-Präsidentschaftswahl 2012
Lehrer Online - Unterrichten mit digitalen Medien
[Note: While the introduction and the short descriptions are in German this page links to English language resources only.]

Background About the U.S. System of Government

Following please find links to full text publications discussing various aspects of the U.S. system of government. You can click on individual articles or open the full publication in PDF format.

American Citizenship
In the United States, government serves the citizens. It protects their constitutional rights, including freedom of speech and religion, and the right to equal protection under the law. This book depicts American citizens exercising the many rights and privileges that empower them to participate fully in the nation's political, economic, and cultural life. (January 2010)

About America: The Constitution of the United States
This illustrated publication includes the complete text of the U.S. Constitution (preamble, seven articles, and 27 amendments), as well an updated introduction and explanatory notes by J.W. Peltason, author of Understanding the Constitution and Government by the People. The introduction includes sections explaining how the Constitution set up the U.S. federal system, the background to the Constitutional Convention and how the participants arrived at a final version of the document, its ratification, and sections on the call for a Bill of Rights and the need for additional amendments over the years. (July 2004)

About America: How the U.S. is Governed
This joint publication of the State Department's Bureau of International Information Programs and Braddock Communications presents a comprehensive yet easy-to-read overview of the various levels of and institutions related to government in the U.S. "How the United States Is Governed" describes how federal, state, and local governments are elected, how they operate, and how the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government relate under the U.S. constitutional system. It also highlights how nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other institutions allow Americans to influence and shape government policy. This publication contains a glossary and a list of useful Web sites. (October 2005)

Outline of the U.S. Government
What makes U.S. government uniquely American...its Constitution, the separation of powers, the concept of “checks and balances,” the decentralized roles of state and local governments, and a citizenry with wide opportunity to be part of it all. (September 2000)

More Resources

As the elections are unfolding, we will see many more references to websites that provide excellent information. Here are some suggestions for you to explore:

eJournal USA

  • eJournal USA: Youth Votes! The 2012 U.S. Elections
    Youth Votes! The 2012 U.S. Elections
    "This issue of "eJournal USA" looks at how the Millennials — Americans born from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s — are changing the face of the U.S. electorate and politics. How are they different from previous generations? What is at stake for the Millennial Generation in the November 2012 election? Are they joining the two major U.S. political parties? And why do they support various candidates and causes? ..."

Video Clips (U.S. Embassy London)