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Voting A presentation by the League of Women Voters of Wayne County Eleanor Drake (retired Monroe #1 BOCES) and Sandra Keller (retired Wayne-Finger Lakes.

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Presentation on theme: "Voting A presentation by the League of Women Voters of Wayne County Eleanor Drake (retired Monroe #1 BOCES) and Sandra Keller (retired Wayne-Finger Lakes."— Presentation transcript:

1 Voting A presentation by the League of Women Voters of Wayne County Eleanor Drake (retired Monroe #1 BOCES) and Sandra Keller (retired Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES)


3 BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT Legislative: Congress Congress can: Hold public hearings. Write and pass laws. Override presidential vetoes. Approve amendments to the Constitution. Regulate commerce. Control federal taxation and spending. Coin money. Declare war. Oversee the executive branch. Impeach the president.

4 BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT Executive:: President, Vice President, Cabinet The President can: Negotiate treaties. Meet with foreign leaders. Recommend legislation to Congress. Sign into law bills passed by Congress. Veto bills passed by Congress. Grant pardons. Send troops overseas. Subject to Congressional Approval, the president also can: Sign treaties. Appoint ambassadors to foreign countries. Appoint justices to the Supreme Court. Appoint cabinet heads. Declare war.

5 BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT Judicial: Supreme Court The Supreme Court can: Rule on court cases that question interpretation of the Constitution. Supervise the operations of all federal courts. Overrule all decisions made by lower federal courts. Overrule decisions about federal laws made by state courts.

6 YOUR Vote Can influence each branch of government! Legislative: Vote for Senator and Representative Executive: Vote for President Judicial: Your President and Senator can appoint/confirm any proposed Supreme Court Justice

7 Imagine there is no texting, video games or email, imagine there are no automobiles, no trains and no Wal-Mart or Wegmans to purchase the supplies you need. Imagine you live in a rural farming community with limited contact with the outside world. Imagine the year is 1775 and you are living in the colonies under the rule of the King and now open your eyes.


9 Let me introduce myself - the year is 1775 and I am King George III of England. As it stands today I make all the laws, appoint the governors, set and collect taxes as I see fit, give land to citizens if I choose, declare which religions can be practiced and make virtually all decisions affecting your lives. Do you think this is right? Do you trust me to make 100% of the decisions affecting your future? Do you think I will make choices based on what’s best for you or do you think I will make choices based on what is best for me?

10 Like you, the citizens of the time did not like this. They felt the King made decisions that were not in their best interests. In fact they were so angry that in 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence they put their lives on the line so they could have a say in running their communities and determining how their society should function. What did the Declaration of Independence say to the king? “We hold these truths to be self evident…” This led to the start of the Revolutionary War.

11 What would have happened to the signers of the Declaration of Independence if they had lost the war? We'll either hang together or we'll hang separately. Benjamin Franklin US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 - 1790)Benjamin Franklin So they felt having a right to participate in the running of their communities was so important they were willing to risk their lives to get it. The Revolutionary War was fought and 25,324 people died fighting for the right to vote and to have a say in the running of their communities. Hostilities were officially ended and in 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris the United States was officially formed.


13 The war is over now everyone gets the right to vote and determine their future. Oops, did I say everyone? I didn’t mean everyone I meant just men. Wrong again. Did I say men? I meant just white men. Strike three. Did I say white men? I meant just white male property owners. If you are one, please join me.

14 John Floyd, Virginia politicianThomas Pickering, Massachusetts politician Major Richard Platt, Continental Army, Revolutionary War, New York Portrait of Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene, 1783

15 Ulster County Clerk, Archives Division Freeholders Lists c.(1798-1817) Transcription: A Return of the Freeholders of the Town of Neversink, in the County of Ulster, Made by the Subscribers, June 20th, 1800, To Serve as Juriors in the above County__ Note: Freeholders were defined by Statute, from the Laws of 1786, as persons possessing real property worth at least 60 pounds, above all mortgages and other encumbrances. Freeholders had voting rights in elections and could also serve on jury panels. This list, dated June 20 1800 is from the Town of Neversink, now in Sullivan County

16 Many people felt this was unfair so in 1861 the Civil War was fought. This time 620,000 people died trying to earn the right to vote. In fact more Americans died in this war than all other US wars combined.

17 In 1865 the Civil War ended and five years later in 1870, the 15 th Amendment to the Constitution was passed giving everyone the right to vote. Did I say everyone? I didn’t mean everyone I just meant men. So if you’re a man (part of definition age 21+), please come join us on this side of the room as a member of the voting public.

18 Ladies, non-white male property owners… Do you think this is right? Do you trust them to make 100% of the decisions affecting your future? When push comes to shove, do you think they will make choices based on what’s best for them or best for you? Who has the power? Do you like it? Is it fair?

19 People who fought for women’s suffrage

20 shoulders-of-giants-women- leaders/669e57022589da383863669e57022589da383863- 201847537851?q=women%27s%20suffrage&FROM=LKVR5> 1=LKVR5&FORM=LKVR12 Giants School House Rock house-rock-sufferin-till- suffrage/57b2b5abc27441581bba57b2b5abc27441581 bba- 165782225199?q=women%27s%20suffrage&FROM=LK VR5>1=LKVR5&FORM=LKVR21

21 Let me ask the African Americans here, though the 15th Amendment gave you the right to vote in 1870 did you have the power to vote? No. Voting is so powerful that many states used voter suppression efforts like literacy tests and other means to keep your voice from possibly changing the way things were in your communities. It wasn’t until the civil rights movement and the eventual passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965 that you had the power to vote, backed up by the authority of government. Without the power of enforcement any right is no more than just words on a page. And any right, not used, is equally as impotent.

22 On August 6, 1965 the American Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Addition to this law was the 24th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, ratified in 1964, prohibiting poll taxes as a qualification for voting in federal elections.

23 Need to connect to this web page

24 So here we are, the late 1960’s and yet still none of YOU can vote. Why? Because until 1971 how old did you have to be to vote? 21. But what was happening in the late 1960’s and early seventies? We were in a conflict in Vietnam, right? And during this conflict, with what method was the government finding soldiers to fight? The draft, right? So the government was saying that at 18 you were old enough to die for your country but you weren’t old enough to take part in the decision to elect those people who were going to send you to fight? Is this right? Is this fair?

25 People your age at the time didn’t think it was fair either and they protested and also worked with leaders in Congress to pass the 26th Amendment to the Constitution in 1971, reducing the voting age to 18 in all states.

26 Oregon objected to the 18-year-old limit, as well as other provisions of the 1970 Act (it also objected to a prohibition on literacy tests for the ability to vote). In Oregon v Mitchell (400 U.S. 112), a sharply divided Supreme Court ruled that the Congress had the power to lower the voting age to 18 for national elections, but not for state and local elections. The case was decided on December 1, 1970. Within months, on March 23, 1971, the Congress passed the text of the 26th Amendment, specifically setting a national voting age, in both state and national elections, to 18. In just 100 days, on July 1, 1971, the amendment was ratified.26th Amendment

27 So now, look around you. In the United States today every person regardless of their race or gender everyone has the same right to vote. You have the power. One person one vote! Is this fair? Do you like it?

28 vote/2870e7d743d35dbc202e2870e7d743d35dbc202e- 199203816812?q=don%27t%20just%20vote&FROM=LKVR 5>1=LKVR5&FORM=LKVR2

29 Questions for First Voters What are the requirements to register? You must be a United States citizen; 18 years old by election day; and a resident of your county, city, town or village for a least 30 days before Election Day.

30 How do I register to vote? BY MAIL: Mail registration forms are available from your county Board of Elections, town and city halls, post office, political party, various state agency offices and the League of Women Voters. A new federal law requires persons who register by mail for the first time to provide identification. Identification means a current NYS driver’s license or the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you do not have a current NYS driver’s license, you need to provide the last four digits of your social security number. If you do not have either, you may provide a copy of a valid photo ID, OR a current utility bill, bank statement, government check or some other government documentation that shows your name and address. Completed forms must be mailed to the county Board of Elections at least 25 days before Election Day. Mail registration forms can also be obtained by downloading them from the New York State Board of Elections’ Web site ( Online registration does not exist in New York State.

31 REGISTRATION IN PERSON: You can register at your Board of Elections ofice any business day. Some counties hold local registration days. Most county Boards of Elections will mail a special postcard to you noting that you are reigstered and telling you where you vote (your polling place). If you don’t get a card within 4 to 6 weeks after completing your application, call your Board of Elections to see if your application was processed. However, if you do not receive a card and believe you are registered, you can still vote by affidavit ballot.

32 Can I register to vote before I turn 18? You may pre-register when you are 17 years old, but you must be 18 by Election Day to vote. I am on parole from prison for a felony conviction. Can I vote? No. Individuals in jail, prison, or on parole for a felony conviction cannot vote. Once parole is completed, you will be eligible to vote. I am in jail awaiting grand jury action. Can I still vote? Yes, the following list indicates individuals who are eligible to vote: those convicted of a misdemeanor; those currently in jail awaiting grand jury action, trial or disposition of a case but not convicted of a felony; those convicted of a felony who do not receive a sentence of imprisonment. You should register to vote in the county of your permanent address. List the jail or prison address as the place where you receive your mail temporarily.

33 I’m homeless and live in a shelter. Can I vote? Yes you can register to vote if you meet the other requirements. You should list the address of the shelter or other place where you regularly stay. You will receive a postcard from the Board of Elections at the address you list telling you where to vote. Will I ever have to re-register? Your registration is permanent unless you move. Name, address and party enrollment changes can be made by submitting a new registration application. If you move within your county or within the City of New York, you need only to send your county Board of Elections a simple change of address postcard. Do I have to choose a political party when I register to vote? No, it is your choice. Just mark the appropriate box. HOWEVER, declaring a party allows you to vote in that party’s primary election which is open only to party members. Also, only enrolled party members can sign nominating petitions, which are circulated by candidates seeking public office. You do not have to vote for your party’s candidates in the general election. You may vote for any candidate from any party.

34 What is a Primary Election? A primary is an election that takes place within each of the political parties before the general election. When two or more members of one political party wish to run for the same position (State Senator, for example) the votes of party members in the primary will decide which will be the party’s candidate. If there is only one candidate running from a party, there is no primary. What do I need when I go to vote? You must be registered. If you do not provide identification with the registration form, you will be asked for it the first time you votes. Acceptable forms of ID include a valid photo ID, OR a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows your name and address

35 When are Elections Held? Primary election in New York State are held on the second Tuesday in September. Generally polls are open from 12 noon to 9 pm. General elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Most polling place are open from 6 am until 9 pm; some, however, open at noon. Check with the county Board of Elections Voting on school budgets and the election of school board members usually occurs on the same day in May throughout New York State. Some village and town elections are help in the spring.

36 What can I do if I am not permitted to vote? If you believe your are eligible to vote, but your name is missing from the poll books, you are ENTITLED to an affidavit ballot, which is a paper ballot. Inspectors must provide with this ballot after they verify that you live in the election district. After the election, the Board of Elections will check its records and your vote will be counted if you are eligible to vote. Your county Board of Elections must notify you as to whether or not your vote was counted

37 Absentee Voting Can I vote if I won’t be home on Election Day? Yes. Any qualified registered voter may vote by absentee ballot if unable to vote in person due to : absence from town during voting hours, illness, physical disability, or active U.S. military service. An application for an absentee ballot must be requested from the Board of Elections by mail no later than 8 days before Election Day, or in person until the day before Election Day. Absentee ballots are available for both primary and general elections Your ballot must be postmarked by the day before the election or hand delivered on election day. What if I join the military and get sent overseas? There are special rules to make it easy for members of the Armed Forces to vote. Every unit in the Armed Forces has a voting officer who has a book explaining the voting requirements of each state.

38 If I’m disabled, where can I vote? Many polling places are now accessible to the handicapped. If yours is not, you may ask to have your records transferred to a nearby accessible polling place where the ballot will be the same as in your election district. This request must be made at least two weeks before the general election. You may also vote by absentee ballot. If you have a long-term illness or disability, you can apply for a permanent absentee ballot and you will automatically receive your ballot before each primary and general election. What is a special presidential ballot? If you move shortly before Election Day and cannot met the residency requirements of your new place of residence, you need not lose your right to vote for a presidential candidate. You can apply for a special presidential ballot by mail at least 7 days before the election, or in person at the county Board of Elections until the day before the election. The ballot must be returned to the County Board of Elections by the day before the election.

39 When I am in college out-of-town, how to I decide where to vote? When you are attending college at a school outside your hometown, you may vote in person or by absentee ballot in your home community. You must be registered in your hometown district to vote there. Many states allow college students to register and vote where they attend college as the Census considers college students to be residents of their college communities. Check with the town or city clerk or the county Board of Elections in your college community to find out if you may vote from your college address.

40 e=related e=related – don’t just vote

41 Your vote is especially important in a census year because your representation in the following years could be changed due to population shifts. Why Each Vote Counts ne Nassau County, Long Island Original Gerry district, MA Abe Lincoln riding a vacuum cleaner Oops, I spilled my coffee on the map

42 Maffei, Daniel B.Maffei, Daniel B., New York, 25th Slaughter, LouiseSlaughter, Louise, New York, 28th Lee, Christopher J.Lee, Christopher J., New York, 26th Weiner, Anthony D.Weiner, Anthony D., New York, 9th

43 Don't ever think your vote doesn't count, because... By the Smallest of Margins...  In 1800 - Thomas Jefferson was elected President by one vote in the House of Representatives after a tie in the electoral college.  In 1824 - Andrew Jackson won the presidential popular vote but lost by one vote in the House of Representatives to John Quincy Adams after an electoral college dead- lock.  In 1845 - The U.S. Senate passed the convention annexing Texas by two votes (27/25).  In 1846 - President Polk's request for a Declaration of War against Mexico passed by one vote.

44  In 1867 - The Alaska purchase was ratified in the Senate by two votes: 37-2, paving the way for future statehood.  In 1868 - President Andrew Johnson was Impeached but not convicted because the Senate was one vote shy of the necessary two thirds required.  In 1876 - Samuel Tilden won the presidential popular vote but came up one electoral vote shy and lost to Rutherford B. Hayes.  In 1941 - Congress amended the active-service component of the Selective Service Act from one year to two-and-a-half years by one vote, 203 to 202.  In 1962 - Governors of Maine, Rhode Island and North Dakota were elected by an average of one vote per precinct.

45 In 1989 - A Lansing, Michigan School District millage proposition failed when the final recount produced a tie vote 5,147 for, and 5,147 against. On the original vote count, votes against the proposition were ten more than those in favor. The result meant that the school district had to reduce its budget by $2.5 million.  In 1994 - 1.1 votes per precinct in Alaska elected Tony Knowles as Governor and Fran Ulmer as Lt. Governor out of 216,668 votes cast in the General Election.  In 1994 - Republican Randall Luthi and Independent Larry Call tied for a seat in the Wyoming House of Representatives from the Jackson Hole area with 1,941 votes each. A recount produced the same result. Mr. Luthi was finally declared the winner when, in a drawing before the State Canvassing Board, a ping pong ball bearing his name was pulled from the cowboy hat of Democratic Governor Mike Sullivan.

46  In 1997 - Vermont State representative Sydney Nixon was seated as an apparent one vote winner, 570 to 569. Mr. Nixon resigned when the State House determined, after a recount, that he had actually lost to his opponent Robert Emond 572 to 571.  In 1997 - Dakota Democrat John McIntyre led Republican Hal Wick 4,195 to 4,191 for the second seat in Legislative District 12 on election night. A subsequent recount showed Wick the winner at 4,192 to 4,191. The State Supreme Court however, ruled that one ballot counted for Wick was invalid due to an overvote. This left the race a tie. After hearing arguments from both sides, the State Legislature voted to seat Wick 46 to 20.  In 2000 - The Presidential election was decided by an extremely narrow margin. George W. Bush won the state of Florida by just 537 votes, making him the next President of the United States. Close to 6 million voters went to the polls in Florida. It might not have been by one vote, but certainly every vote counted.

47  In 2008 - Stockton, California: The Stockton Unified School Trustee Area No. 3 seat was won by one vote. Jose Morales received 2,302 votes while Anthony Silva received 2,301.  In 2008 - Minnesota voters cast 2.9 million votes in their US Senate race that may be decided by as few as 200 votes (1/1000th of one %)  In 2010 - In Nevada, the Nye County Primary contest for County Commissioner District IV was a dead heat with both Butch Borasky and Carl Moore receiving 381 votes. In the Lincoln County Primary, the District Attorney race was decided by only 3 votes.

48 In a democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it was your count who voted.

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