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        旺旺首頁 > 英語 > 輕松英語 > 英語文庫 > Elections 美國的選舉
        更新時間:2004/12/14

          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.

          驚奇常常是在箱子里出現:包在彩色包裝紙里面的生日禮物…朋友寄來牛皮紙包的包裹…不論是怎樣的箱子,人們喜歡打開來看看里面是什么。在美國以及其它許多國家,有一個特殊的箱子關系著未來,稱為投票箱。人們在選舉日投在箱子里的東西可以改變歷史的走向。


          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.

          選舉是民主的原動力。民主這個字照字面的意思是「人民自主」,是美國歷史中一個重要的觀念。十八世紀中期,英國開始通過一些使美國殖民地憤怒的法律。殖民地人民必須付愈來愈多的稅,享有愈來愈少的自由。他們感到英國政府沒有代表他們的權益。一七七六年七月四日,殖民地宣布脫離英國獨立。他們想要建立民主制度,使人們在政府中有發言權。


          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舉行選舉。在美國,每兩年選一次國會議員。在這些選舉中,人們可以爭取所有眾議院的席位和三分之一的參議院席位。除此以外,選民每四年去投票所選出國家的總統和副總統。選民也定期投票選出州長、市長及當地學校的董事會成員。有時他們也必須投票決定提議的法律。


          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.

          在美國的選舉制度中,人們并不直接投票給總統候選人,而是由選民投票給支持各個候選人的「選舉人」。每一州的選舉人人數和代表此州的國會議員人數相同,等于每一州有兩位參議員,加上眾議院的眾議員人數(以各州的人口為基準)。在一個州里擁有最多票數的候選人就贏得了那一州所有選舉人的票數。要贏得總統大選,候選人必須至少獲得總共538個選舉人中的270張票。


          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.

          多年來,美國在選舉方面做了一些改革。早期有些改革禁止作弊、收受賄賂或威脅選民。他們也限制候選人從捐贈者那兒獲得的金額數目及花在競選宣傳上的費用。一八七○年,黑人獲得選舉權。一九二○年,權利延伸至婦女。近幾十年來,通過了反對不公平選舉規則的法律。人們不再需要付特殊的稅或通過測驗才能選舉。一九七一年,投票的年齡降至十八歲。其它的改革減輕了盲人、殘障者及文盲投票的困難。在某些地區,選票上面除了英文以外,還必須印上別的文字。


          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,美國人要再一次選出在政府中代表他們的人。雖然有些市民甚至不是法定投票人──有些法定投票人懶得去投票──但是大多數的美國人都會行使他們投票的權利。他們了解他們的未來包在一個特別的箱子里──投票箱。它實在是一個必須「小心處理」的箱子。   

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