About Federal Elected Offices

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The United States Constitution divides the federal government into three branches to ensure a balance of power. That means that no individual or group will have too much power. Each branch of government can change acts of the other branches. For example, the President can veto legislation created by Congress and nominates heads of federal agencies. Congress confirms or rejects the President's nominees and can remove the President from office in exceptional circumstances. The Justices of the Supreme Court, who can overturn unconstitutional laws, are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. This ability of each branch to respond to the actions of the other branches is called the system of checks and balances.
The U.S. Branches of Government are:
  1. Legislative—Makes laws (Congress—House of Representatives and Senate)
  2. Judicial—Evaluates laws (Supreme Court and other courts)
  3. Executive—Carries out laws (President, Vice President, Cabinet, most federal agencies)
United States Legislative Branch

The legislative branch or, Congress, drafts proposed laws, confirms or rejects Presidential nominations for heads of federal agencies, federal judges, and the Supreme Court, and has the authority to declare war. This branch includes Congress (the Senate and House of Representatives) and special agencies and offices that provide support services to Congress. American citizens have the right to vote for Senators and Representatives through free, confidential ballots.

More information can be found at: www.usa.gov

US Senate
  • There are two elected Senators per state, totaling 100 Senators.
  • Qualifications to run for US Senate
    • Must be 30 years of age
    • Must be a citizen of the United Sates for nine years
    • Must be a resident of the State at the time elected
  • 6-year term
US House of Representatives
  • There are 435 elected Representatives, which are divided among the 50 states in proportion to their total population
  • There are additional non-voting delegates who represent the District of Columbia and the territories
  • Qualifications to run for US House of Representatives
  • 2-year term, no term limits
    • Must be 25 years of age
    • Must be a citizen of the United Sates for seven years
    • Must be a resident of the State at the time elected
United States Judicial Branch

The judicial branch interprets the meaning of laws, applies laws to individual cases, and decides if laws violate the Constitution. This branch includes the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Judges at the federal level are not elected officers.

United States Executive Branch

The United States Constitution, Article II, establishes the Executive Branch of the federal government. The Executive Branch carries out and enforces laws. This branch of government includes the President, Vice President, and the Executive Cabinet, executive departments, independent agencies, and other boards, commissions, and committees. American citizens have the right to vote for the President and Vice President through free, confidential ballots.

Executive Branch Elected Offices


  • Qualifications
    • Must be a natural born citizen
    • Must be at least 35 years old
    • Must be a resident within the United States
  • Term of office
    • The President is elected to a term of 4 years.
    • A person may not be elected President more than twice.
  • Is elected by the Electoral College
    • Was originally included in the Constitution ion Article 2, Section 1
    • This procedure is provided for by the 12th Amendment to the US Constitution
    • Is a body of people representing the states of the US, who formally cast votes for the election of the president and vice-president
  • Compensation
    • The President receives a free residence in the White House while in service to the country
    • In 2018, the salary is $400,000 per year paid monthly
    • Receives an expense allowance of $50,000 to be used to defray expenses related to his official duties. Any unused money in this allowance is returned to the US Treasury.
    • Receives a travel allowance of $100,000
    • Receives an entertainment allowance of $90,000
    • The president and family do not pay rent or electric bills, but are billed monthly for their own food and personal expenses, such as dry cleaning.
  • Is the head of state, leader of the federal government, and Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces. Should the President be unable to continue in office for any reason, the line of succession to the presidency is: Vice-President, Speaker of the House, Senate President Pro Tempore, Secretary of State.


  • Qualifications
    • Must be a natural born citizen
    • Must be at least 35 years old
    • Must be a resident within the United States
  • Term of Office
    • Runs on a ticket with the President and serves a 4-year term
    • He may serve an unlimited number of 4-year terms even under different Presidents.
    • He may succeed the President to finish that term of office. If the vice-president serves 2 years or more as President, he may only be elected to one 4-year term
    • If the Vice-President does not succeed a President, he may run for the office of President and serve two 4-year terms.
  • Compensation
    • The Vice President receives a free residence while in service to the country
    • In January 2018, the VP salary increased to 243,000.
  • Is the highest-ranking official in the presidential line of succession
  • Is a member of the Cabinet and does not need Senate confirmation for that position.
  • Is a member of the National Security Council
  • Is an officer in the legislative branch of the federal government serving as President of the Senate. He votes only to break a tie.
  • Presides over joint sessions of Congress
Executive Branch Non-Elected Officials

Executive Cabinet

  • This Board is made up of 23 members
  • These most senior members of the Executive Branch are NOT ELECTED officers. They are appointed by the President and, except for the Vice-President, require confirmation by the US Senate a by simple majority - 51 votes, if all 100 Senators vote.
  • The role of this cabinet is to advise the president on issues related to the member’s office.
  • Qualifications
    • May not be a member of Congress or a sitting Governor
    • Sitting governors, US Senators, and members of the US House of Representatives must resign before being sworn in.
  • Cabinet positions listed in order of succession to the presidency.

Please refer to www.ballotpedia.org/Donald_Trump_presidential_Cabinet for names of current Cabinet members.

  1. Vice-President
  2. Secretary of State
  3. Secretary of the Treasury
  4. Secretary of Defense
  5. Attorney General
  6. Secretary of the Interior
  7. Secretary of Agriculture
  8. Secretary of Commerce
  9. Secretary of Labor
  10. Secretary of Health and Human Services
  11. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  12. Secretary of Transportation
  13. Secretary of Energy
  14. Secretary of Education
  15. Secretary of Veteran Affairs
  16. Secretary of Homeland Security
Appointees with Cabinet-rank status

From www.ballotpedia.org/Donald_Trump_presidential_Cabinet

  • Require confirmation by the US Senate, with the exception of Chief of Staff
  • Have Cabinet-rank status, but are not in the line of succession to the President
  • Appointees include:
    • White House Chief of Staff
    • EPA Administrator
    • Office of Management and Budget Director
    • US Trade Representative
    • UN Ambassador
    • Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors
    • Small Business Administration