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Voters and Voter Behavior Chapter 6

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1 Voters and Voter Behavior Chapter 6

2 History Suffrage – The right to vote
Electorate – potential voting population

3 History Initially, the right to vote in America was limited to white male property owners. Today, the size of the American electorate is greater than 200 million people.

4 Extending Suffrage (5 Stages)
1800s - religious, property, and tax payment qualifications were gradually eliminated 1870 – 15th Amendment (Race) 1920 – 19th Amendment (Gender)

5 Extending Suffrage (5 Stages)
1960s – Voting Rights Act of 1965, 23rd Amendment (District of Columbia), 24th Amendment (Poll Tax) 1971 – 26th Amendment (Voting Age)

6 Universal Requirements
Three factors Citizenship Residence Age

7 Other Qualifications States also have restrictions on the right to vote on certain members of the population, such as those found to be mentally incompetent or people convicted of serious crimes.


9 Civil Rights and Suffrage
15th Amendment (1870) Voting Rights Act of 1965 Elimination of poll tax and literacy tests, preclearance

10 Southern Black Voters (1960-1970)

11 Nonvoters Millions of Americans do not vote when elections are held.
50 % voted in the 2000 Presidential election 46 % voted for members of House

12 Nonvoters Most don’t vote because: voting is in some way inconvenient
they do not believe that their vote will make a difference they distrust politics and political candidates.

13 Sociological Factors Income and Occupation Education Gender and Age
Religious and Ethnic Background Geography Family and Other Groups

14 Psychological Factors
Party Identification The loyalty of people to a particular political party is the single most significant and lasting predictor of how a person will vote. Candidates and Issues Candidates and issues are two short-term factors that can influence even the most loyal Democrat or Republican. People may vote out of their chosen party if they dislike a candidate or the party’s stand on a particular issue.

15 You Tell Me! Some people suggest that we should not try to increase voter turnout in this country b/c that would only encourage uninformed voting and result in bad choices made for the wrong reasons. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

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