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美国的选举

Elections 美国的选举

  Suprises often come in boxes. Birthday presents wrapped in colorful paper, brown paper packages mailed from a friend. No matter what kind of box it is, people like to open it up and see what's inside. In America, and in many other countries, one special kind of box contains the future. It's called a ballot box. What people put into the box on election day can change the course of history.

  惊奇常常是在箱子里出现:包在彩色包装纸里面的生日礼物…朋友寄来牛皮纸包的包裹…不论是怎样的箱子,人们喜欢打开来看看里面是什么。在美国以及其它许多国家,有一个特殊的箱子关系着未来,称为投票箱。人们在选举日投在箱子里的东西可以改变历史的走向。


  Elections are the lifeblood of a democracy. The word democracy literally means "the people rule," an important concept in America's history. In the mid-1700s, England began passing laws that made the American colonies angry. The colonists had to pay more and more taxes and enjoyed less and less freedom. They felt the government of England didn't represent their interests. On July 4, 1776, the colonies declared their independence from England. They wanted to establish a democracy where people could have a voice in government.

  选举是民主的原动力。民主这个字照字面的意思是「人民自主」,是美国历史中一个重要的观念。十八世纪中期,英国开始通过一些使美国殖民地愤怒的法律。殖民地人民必须付愈来愈多的税,享有愈来愈少的自由。他们感到英国政府没有代表他们的权益。一七七六年七月四日,殖民地宣布脱离英国独立。他们想要建立民主制度,使人们在政府中有发言权。


  An effective democracy holds regular elections. In America, elections are held every two years for members of Congress. In these elections, all seats in the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate seats are up for grabs. In addition, every four years, voters go to the polls to elect the nation's president and vice-president. Voters also regularly cast their ballots for state and city government leaders and local school board members. Sometimes they also have to vote on a proposed law.

  有效的民主制度定期举行选举。在美国,每两年选一次国会议员。在这些选举中,人们可以争取所有众议院的席位和三分之一的参议院席位。除此以外,选民每四年去投票所选出国家的总统和副总统。选民也定期投票选出州长、市长及当地学校的董事会成员。有时他们也必须投票决定提议的法律。


  In the American electoral system, people don't really vote for presidential candidates. Instead, voters cast their ballots for "electors" who support each candidate. Each state has as many electors as the total number of its representatives in Congress. This equals two senators per state plus the number of its representatives in the House (which is based on the state's population). The candidate who has the most votes in a state wins all of the state's electors. To win the presidential election, a candidate must gain at least 270 of the 538 total electoral votes.

  在美国的选举制度中,人们并不直接投票给总统候选人,而是由选民投票给支持各个候选人的「选举人」。每一州的选举人人数和代表此州的国会议员人数相同,等于每一州有两位参议员,加上众议院的众议员人数(以各州的人口为基准)。在一个州里拥有最多票数的候选人就赢得了那一州所有选举人的票数。要赢得总统大选,候选人必须至少获得总共538个选举人中的270张票。


  Over the years, the U.S. has made a number of election reforms. Some early reforms outlawed cheating, giving bribes and threatening voters. They also limited the amount of money candidates could receive from donors and spend on their campaigns. In 1870, black people gained the right to vote, and in 1920, that right was extended to women. In recent decades, laws against unfair rules for voting have been passed. No longer do people have to pay a special tax or pass a test in order to vote. In 1971, the voting age was lowered to 18. Other reforms made voting easier for the blind, the disabled and people who couldn't read. In some areas, ballots had to be printed in languages besides English.

  多年来,美国在选举方面做了一些改革。早期有些改革禁止作弊、收受贿赂或威胁选民。他们也限制候选人从捐赠者那儿获得的金额数目及花在竞选宣传上的费用。一八七○年,黑人获得选举权。一九二○年,权利延伸至妇女。近几十年来,通过了反对不公平选举规则的法律。人们不再需要付特殊的税或通过测验才能选举。一九七一年,投票的年龄降至十八岁。其它的改革减轻了盲人、残障者及文盲投票的困难。在某些地区,选票上面除了英文以外,还必须印上别的文字。


  In November, Americans will again elect those who will represent them in government. Although some citizens aren't even registered to vote--and some registered voters don't bother to go to the polls--most Americans exercise their right to vote. They realize that their future is wrapped up in a special package--the ballot box. It's a package that must definitely be "handled with care."

  十一月五日,美国人要再一次选出在政府中代表他们的人。虽然有些市民甚至不是法定投票人──有些法定投票人懒得去投票──但是大多数的美国人都会行使他们投票的权利。他们了解他们的未来包在一个特别的箱子里──投票箱。它实在是一个必须「小心处理」的箱子。

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