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Presentation on theme: "AP US GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS"— Presentation transcript:

Chapter 10 The Election Process

2 Presentation Outline Getting Voters Involved Primaries and Caucuses
Presidential Elections Congressional Elections Campaign Finance Reform

3 The Purpose of Elections
Legitimize government, even in authoritarian systems. Organize government. Choose issue and policy priorities. Electorate gives winners a mandate.

4 1) Getting the Voters Involved
Electorate: Those eligible to vote Initiative: citizens propose legislation and then vote on it. Referendum: state legislature submits proposed legislation to voters (aka “punting”) Recall: Voters seek to remove an elected official. Incumbent: an official already in office

5 2) Primaries and Caucuses
Closed Primary – registered voters of a particular party Open Primary – Independents and often members of any party Non-Partisan Primary – Voting without regard to party affiliation Caucus – only a few states use these- more complicated than primaries- registered party members meet and debate the merits of each candidate and then vote

6 Open Primary Ballot for both Republican and Democratic primaries

7 Democratic Party members in Iowa vote in a presidential caucus

8 3) Presidential Elections
Held every 4 years Each major party nominates a candidate Winner is determined by the Electoral College

Winner Take All Proportional Caucus Front Loading by States National Convention: Out of Power Party goes first. Labor Day is the traditional “kick-off” but that has changed in recent years

10 Campaigning in primaries

11 Presidential Campaign Debate between Republican challenger Romney and Democratic President Obama in 2012


13 THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE 538= 435 plus 100 plus 3
Originally designed to operate without political parties and to produce a non-partisan president Red is GOP and Blue is Democratic Largest is California (55); then Texas (38); then New York and Florida (29)…. Average district size is now going to be over 570K

14 A candidate only needs a plurality of the votes in the state to carry the state and get all its electoral votes



17 In three elections (1876, 1888, and 2000) the candidate which won the popular vote lost the Electoral College and therefore lost the election




21 In presidential election years a popular candidate or present can have coattails meaning that his popularity will help get Congressional members of his own party elected that year.


Incumbents have a huge advantage: Mass mailings Well known Constituent Services Large War Chests **OTHER KEY TERMS TO REMEMBER** Redistricting Gerrymandering Midterm Elections (low turn out) Coattails in a Presidential Election

24 Candidates only need a plurality to win a district (SMD system)
Senators are elected every 6 years on a rotating basis Representatives are elected every 2 years

25 Drawing District Boundaries
Malapportionment: districts have very different populations, so the votes in the less-populated district “weigh more” than those in the more-populated district Gerrymandering: boundaries are drawn to favor one party rather than another, resulting in odd-shaped districts

26 Gerrymandered district in Illinois

27 The effects of gerrymandering in Ohio Congressional elections

28 5) Campaign Finance Reform
Hard money- money which is regulated and given directly to candidates Soft money- any money given to help a party or candidate, not directly, and originally completely unregulated

29 Table 10.2: Sources of Campaign Funds: All House and Senate Candidates in , by Party (in Millions)

30 Figure 10.1: The Cost of Winning
Insert 10.1 (formerly 8.1 in 9e) Updated from Federal Election Commission report, May 15, 2001.

31 Federal Election Commission.
Figure 10.2: Growth of PACs Insert Figure 10.2 (formerly 8.2 in 9e) Federal Election Commission.

32 1974 Campaign Finance Reform
1972: Watergate and illegal donations from corporation, unions, and individuals catalyzed change Brought about the 1974 federal campaign reform law and Federal Election Commission (FEC)

33 Raising Money (Old System)
Individuals can give $2,000; PACs can give $5,000 in each election to each candidate Candidates must raise $5,000 in twenty states in individual contributions of $250 or less to qualify for federal matching grants to pay for primary campaigns

34 Problems with Campaign Financing
Independent expenditures: an organization or PAC can spend as much as it wishes on advertising, so long as it is not coordinated with a candidate’s campaign Soft money: unlimited amounts of money may be given to a political party, so long as it does not specifically advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate.

35 Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act: McCain-Feingold Bill 2002
Sharply restricted independent expenditures Corporations, unions, trade associations, nonprofit organizations cannot use their own money for an advertisement referring to a candidate by name 30 days before a primary and 60 days before a general election


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