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Voting in America.

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Presentation on theme: "Voting in America."— Presentation transcript:

1 Voting in America

2 The Right to Vote

3 History of Voting Rights
The Framers of the Constitution purposely left the power to set suffrage qualifications to each State.

4 Suffrage / Franchise The RIGHT or PRIVILEGE to vote.
Both of these terms have the same meaning: The RIGHT or PRIVILEGE to vote.

5 Voter Statistics in US

6 Expansion of Electorate
When the Constitution went into effect in 1789, who was allowed to vote? White, male, property owners

7 Expansion of Electorate
Today the size of the American electorate (potential voting population) is around 210 million people Who is allowed to vote today? Nearly all citizens who are at least 18 years old.

8 Expansion of Electorate
That big number is a result of some 200 years of continuing, often bitter and sometimes violent struggle. The history of suffrage has been marked by (2) long-term trends: The gradual elimination of restrictions on the right to vote The State’s power over the right to vote has been assumed by the Federal government.

9 Extending Suffrage The growth of the American electorate to its present size and shape has come in five fairly distinct stages:

10 The 1st Stage When: Early 1800s What:
Elimination of religious, property, and tax requirements.

11 The 2nd Stage When: What: Post Civil-War Era.
Race or color could not block right to vote. 15th Amendment.

12 The 3rd Stage When: 1920 What:
Women get the right to vote in Federal elections. 19th Amendment

13 The 4th Stage When: 1960s What:
23rd Amendment allows District of Columbia to vote in presidential election 24th Amendment – No poll tax Voting Rights Act 1965

14 The 5th Stage When: 1971 What:
Minimum age of voting can be no higher than 18 years old.

15 Voter Qualifications

16 Universal Requirements
Today, every state requires that any person who wants to vote must be able to satisfy qualifications based on (3) factors:

17 Citizenship Aliens (foreign born residents who have not become citizens) are denied the right to vote. States have power to regulate this. Pennsylvania? Citizen for 30 days Resident of PA for 30 days

18 Residency Why is there a residency requirement?
Political Machines cannot bring voters in from different areas. New voters can become familiar with candidates and issues of an area.

19 Residency Transients:
persons living in a State for only a short time; are prohibited from voting in nearly every state.

20 Age 26th Amendment (1971) set the minimum age for voting in any election at no more than 18. Vietnam War was key. What is the impact of years olds in voting? NONE: they have the lowest percentage of all voting groups..

21 Age

22 Other Qualifications The States have imposed a number of other qualifications over time. Registration Literacy Tax Payment Persons Denied the Vote

23 Registration Procedure of voter identification intended to prevent fraudulent voting. A prospective voter must register his/her name, age, place of birth, present address, length of residence, and similar facts. What is purging? Reviewing the lists of registered voters and removing the names of the ineligible.

24 Registration Some people argue that the registration requirement is bar to voter turnout, especially among the poor and less-educated.

25 Registration In 1993 Congress passed a law dubbed “the Motor- Voter Law”. What did this do? Register by mail Register when applying/renewing driver’s license.

26 Literacy Today no state has a suffrage qualification based on voter literacy – a persons ability to read or write. States had these in place to keep a group away from the polls – African Americans, Native American, Irish Catholic immigrants.

27 Literacy What eliminated all of these requirements?
Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1970

28 Tax Payment Poll tax = payment of a tax in order to vote.
Beginning with Florida in 1889, each of the 11 southern states enacted this to keep African-Americans away from the polls.

29 Tax Payment The 24th Amendment to the Constitution ended this in 1964.

30 Denied the Vote Some states deny the right to vote to certain persons:
People in mental institutions. Persons found legally incompetent. Persons convicted of serious crimes.

31 Suffrage and Civil Rights

32 15th Amendment First step in the effort to extend the franchise to African Americans. What does it declare….

33 15th Amendment Right to vote cannot be denied because of race, color or previous condition of servitude.

34 Federal Government Yet for almost 90 years ( ), the Federal government paid little attention to voting rights for African Americans. During this period, blacks were kept from the polls by a mix of violence, literacy tests, poll taxes and other devices:

35 Gerrymandering Definition:
Drawing district lines to limit or strengthen the voting power of a particular group.


37 White Primaries Definition:
Practice that excluded blacks from running for office; used in the South. Eventually ruled unconstitutional.

38 Civil Rights Act 1960 Allowed for Federal voting referees to help voters register or vote.

39 Civil Rights Act 1964 This Act was much broader and more effective than either two of the earlier measures. Outlawed discrimination in several areas – especially job related matters. It relied on judicial action to overcome racial barriers.

40 Injunction Definition:
A court order that either forces or limits an action by a person.

41 Dr. Martin Luther King The violence shown on national TV.
Voter registration march in Selma, Alabama were met with violence - showing a need for new and stronger legislation. What played a role in getting the nation’s attention? The violence shown on national TV.

42 Voting Rights Act of 1965 This act applied to ALL elections held anywhere in this country – state and local as well as federal. Originally, the Act was to be in effect for 5 years but Congress has extended its life three times.

43 President Johnson and Dr. King at signing of Voting Rights Act
Voting Rights Act of 1965 Suspended us of literacy tests. Gave Federal government power to oversee elections. President Johnson and Dr. King at signing of Voting Rights Act

44 Preclearance Changes that must be approved: Location of polling places
Boundaries of districts Deadlines in election process Qualifications of candidates

45 Amendments to the Act Additions to the law include:
extensions for existing provisions help for language minorities (ballots in several languages)

46 Voter Behavior

47 Nonvoters There are several legitimate reasons for not voting…
But the troubling fact remains that most of the millions who do not vote cannot claim those reasons.

48 Size of the Problem Case in point Election Day 2000:
those eligible to vote (205.8 million) and million did vote (51.2%) How many people did not vote at all? Nearly 100 million people!!!

49 Size of the Problem Off-year elections, which are the congressional elections in between a President’s term, have even lower rates of voter turnout. What does it mean to be a “nonvoting voter”? Vote for candidates at top of ballot, but no other offices.

50 Ballot Fatigue One reason for nonvoting is “ballot fatigue”
many voters get exhaust their patience and/or knowledge as they work they way down the ballot.

51 Actual Nonvoters There are any number of reasons for not voting:
Belief that it makes no difference who wins. Others are satisfied with the political world as they it.

52 Political Efficacy Define Why do people have it?
People who lack any feeling of influence or effectiveness in politics. Why do people have it? They believe they have no impact on what the government does.

53 Turnout Factors Cumbersome election procedures (registration, long lines and ballots) Bad weather can also effect turnout.

54 Turnout Factors Time-Zone Fallout
polls on East Coast close before other time-zones Announcing East Coast results might discourage West Coast voters.

55 Turnout Factors A simple factor is, purely and simply, a lack of interest!

56 Comparing … Voters and Non-voters.
One useful way to get a handle on the problem of nonvoting is to contrast those who go to the polls regularly and those who do not…

57 Comparing … Voters Non-Voters
High level of income, education and job status. Strong sense of party identification. Long time residents who are active in their community. Unmarried, unskilled and under the age of 35. Live in rural areas of country. Women vote more than men.

58 Voter Behavior Voting has been studied more closely than any other form of political participation. Why is this? The importance of the topic and the great amount of data available.

59 The Field of Survey Research Studies of Political Socialization
Studying Voters Most of what is known about voter behavior comes from (3) sources: The Results of Particular elections Studying the returns from areas populated with a specific group will indicate how they voted. The Field of Survey Research Scientific polling of public opinion can determine voter outcome. Studies of Political Socialization This involves studying experiences and relationships in people’s lives

60 Sociological Factors Sociology is the study of groups and how people behave within groups.

61 Income, Occupations Lower income tend to be Democrat, higher income Republicans. Occupations : professionals, business people tend to vote Republican manual labor, union workers tend to vote Democrat.

62 Education… College grads vote for Republicans in higher percentages than do high school grads; High school grads vote GOP more than grade school grads.

63 Gender The Gender Gap in politics:
Women tend to favor Democrats by 5-10%, and men tend to favor Republicans by the same amount.

64 Protestants Historically, a majority of Protestants have voted Republican. Social issues are key to most Protestants voters.

65 Catholic Traditional, have voted Democrat. Immigration in early 1900s.
Recent trend is that they are swing voters: % for Bush % for Obama

66 Jewish Traditionally have always voted Democrat.
Immigration in early 1900s. Recent trend: % for Bush % for Obama

67 African-American For decades, African Americans have supported the Democratic Party consistently and massively. 95% in 2008

68 Latinos Do not vote as a block Cuban-Americans:
Tend to vote Republican Mexicans and Puerto Ricans: Tend to vote Democrat

69 Geography The part of the country in which a person lives has an impact on voting. Solid South: Starting with the end of the Civil War, the South voted solidly Democrat for over 100 years.

70 Family Married couples and family members tend to vote the same way.
What is the role of parents? 2 of 3 voters follow the political attachments of their parents

71 Psychological Factors
Psychology is the study of the mind and of individual behavior.

72 Party Identification A majority of Americans identify with one of the major parties – and many NEVER change. This is the SINGLE most significant predictor of how a person will vote.

73 Straight/Split Ticket
Straight Ticket : Voting of candidates of ONLY one party Split Ticket: Voting for candidates of MORE than one party

74 Independents Term used for people with no party affiliation.
New breed of: Often young and above average in education, income and job status.

75 Short Term Factors Candidates: Issues:
An impression a candidate makes on a voter can cause a switch in party Issues: An important issue can cause a switch in party for a voter.

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