After a campaign season that started when I was in third grade, Election Day finally is arriving. As you make your way through a jungle of campaign signs on your way to your designated polling place, consider these Web sites to celebrate your party’s win or forget that your party lost.

• http://www.whitehouse.gov/government/exec.html

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

The government is split into three branches, and the president belongs to the executive one. But with all the controversy over what exactly the president can do, how about a refresher course over what he’s supposed to do. Come on, you know you wanted a civics lesson today, so check out this site for the presidential scoop.

• http://www.americanpresidents.org/presidents/gwashington.asp

GEORGE WASHINGTON

He was our first president; he had wooden teeth, and when someone asked him for his picture, he just whipped out his wallet and gave out a one dollar bill. If the only thing you know about George Washington is that he chopped down a cherry tree, then you really don’t know anything, because that’s not even true. What is true? Head to this site for some Washingtonian facts.

• www.factmonster.com/spot/electionday1.html

ELECTION DAY

Election Day always falls on the first Tuesday in November, but why? Why is that day set in stone for choosing our government officials? It is steeped in history. Unfortunately, like so many historical reasons, it holds no real relevance why we do it on this day now. It’s history, so that’s all you need to know. What? Want to know more? Then take a look at this site.

• http://www.howstuffworks.com/electoral-college.htm

ELECTORAL COLLEGE

Do you live in a red state or a blue state? And why should you care? Well, it all has to do with the Electoral College. Should we still use it, or should we use the popular vote to determine who becomes president? That debate raged heavily during the 2000 presidential election, and if Tuesday is another close one, no doubt that argument will come up again. And what happens if there is a tie in the Electoral College? Check out this site to see how this fascinating system works.

• http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/thepresidentandcabinet/a/impeachment.htm

IMPEACHMENT

There is a provision in the Constitution that allows Congress to throw out a sitting president if he does something they really don’t like. It’s called impeachment, and it’s only happened twice, although in both cases the Senate acquitted. What does it take to impeach a president? Take a look at this site to find out how it’s done and what happened in the few cases where impeachment proceedings were actually started.

• http://www.infoplease.com/spot/campdavid1.html

CAMP DAVID

Camp David has been a presidential vacation spot for decades. When a president wants privacy, he heads for this hideaway in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountain Park. Presidents have also used it for hosting visiting heads of state and even as a workplace to bring about world peace. Of course, sometimes plans don’t always work out. If you’ve always been curious about what is often considered a president’s second home, then check out this site for a little insight. Why should the president have all the fun? Oh, yeah, because he’s the president.

• http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0768598.html

PRESIDENTIAL PETS

When someone is elected president, he brings his family to the White House to live. So, you really can’t expect him to leave his beloved pet behind while he sits in the Oval Office making world-changing decisions. Quite a few of our presidents have had pets. Take a look at this site to find out just how many presidents were cat people. And by that, I mean that they owned cats, not that they transformed into panthers. Shout out to Nastassja Kinski fans.

• http://inaugural.senate.gov/history/daysevents/index.cfm

INAUGURATION DAY

Once we get over this pesky election stuff, then it’s on to the Inauguration. This incredibly overpriced, overhyped event takes place in January, and the country practically stops while it’s happening. Kidding aside, it actually can be an interesting thing to watch, and by doing so, you’re kind of experiencing history, too. It is truly an all-day affair. Check out this site to find out what all will be happening this January. It starts with a church service, and ends with a big ball. But what doesn’t, really?

Kenneth Carter is technology editor at the Birmingham (Ala.) News. E-mail [email protected]


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