Presentation on theme: " We have a decentralized party system; the national parties are collections of state and local parties Parties are weaker than they used to be Progressive."— Presentation transcript:
We have a decentralized party system; the national parties are collections of state and local parties Parties are weaker than they used to be Progressive reforms and weakening of patronage Direct primary reduces party control of nominations Rise of interest groups and PACs Parties are made stronger or weaker by state laws and practices Different types of primaries (open, closed, etc.) Runoff elections in 10 Southern states, tend to discriminate against minority candidates (whites in black- majority areas as well as blacks in white-majority areas)
Interest groups tend to be strong where parties are weak, and in states with fragmented executive authority (SC in both cases)
V.O. Key argued that states with higher levels of party competition are more likely to have more liberal policy outcomes If the parties have to compete for votes, they make more of an effort to reach nonvoters, who are traditionally poor, minorities, etc. Having to address these people’s concerns tends to produce greater attention to poverty, racism, and associated issues, with more liberal outcomes.
Socioeconomic factors: Income The wealthier you are, the more likely you are to vote. Education The better educated you are, the more likely you are to vote. Your level of education is generally the most significant predictor of your probability of voting. Race In general, whites and Asians are more likely to vote than blacks and Hispanics. Age The older you are, the more likely you are to vote, up to a point.
Low political efficacy: People are so dissatisfied that they think it doesn’t matter whether they vote or not; Satisfaction with status quo: People don’t vote because they see no need to change things; Difficulty in registering (now much easier than it used to be, thanks to Motor Voter, which increased registration but not turnout) Structural barriers: registration requirements, difficulty in getting to the polls during a certain time period on a weekday, restrictions on absentee balloting Southern states have tended to have lower participation because of difficult registration laws, disenfranchisement devices, poverty, and lack of party competition.
Originally, the right to vote was limited to white male property owners (and to Christians in some jurisdictions) Constitution originally gave states the power to determine qualifications for “electors” (voters) There was no specific “right to vote” under the original Constitution 15 th Amendment (1870): Barred discrimination in voting on the basis of race, color or previous condition of servitude (slavery). The 14 th and 15 th Amendments are the first time that a “right to vote” is mentioned in the Constitution.
17 th Amendment (1913): Senators elected by popular vote. 19 th Amendment (1920): Barred discrimination in voting on the basis of sex. Women already had the right to vote in some states: The Wyoming Territory granted women the right to vote in This was the first jurisdiction in the US to do so.
The Utah Territory granted women the right to vote in 1870, but it was subsequently repealed by Congress. When Utah sought admission as a state in 1896, one condition imposed by Congress was that women not be given the right to vote. Utah agreed to this provision, was admitted to the Union, and then restored women’s voting rights (nothing Congress could do about it after they were admitted as a state).
23 rd Amendment (1961): The District of Columbia is given representation in the Electoral College. 24 th Amendment (1964): Abolished the poll tax as a requirement for voting in federal elections. 26 th Amendment (1971): Lowered the voting age to 18. Now, almost all citizens 18 and older have the right to vote in all elections.
Literacy test Requirement to read and interpret a section of the Constitution to the satisfaction of the voting registrar Selectively enforced against black voters, also disenfranchised many illiterate whites Alabama literacy test: ns/images/al_literacy.pdf ns/images/al_literacy.pdf Louisiana literacy test: s/Voter%20Test%20LA.pdf s/Voter%20Test%20LA.pdf
Poll tax Outlawed in federal elections by 24 th Amendment (1964). Outlawed in state elections by Supreme Court decision in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966). White primary If the party is a “private organization,” they can restrict their activities to “members.” These “activities” include voting in the party primary, which was the decisive election in the one-party Democratic South. Outlawed by the Supreme Court in Smith v. Allwright (1944).
Malapportionment Drawing districts of unequal population, generally used to give rural areas greater representation than urban areas; outlawed by a series of Supreme Court decisions in the 1960’s Gerrymandering Drawing district lines in a way that benefits a particular party or group and disadvantages another Unconstitutional to gerrymander on racial grounds, but partisan gerrymandering is generally permitted
Voting Rights Act of 1965 Suspended literacy tests Permanently banned practices used to discriminate on the basis of race Provided for federal registrars in jurisdictions with literacy tests or similar devices and where less than 40% of eligible citizens voted in 1964 Presidential election Requires Department of Justice preclearance (approval) of changes in voting practices in covered areas (the Supreme Court struck down the coverage formula in 2013) Primarily targeted at the South but as a result of expansion of its provisions, now includes Alaska and three boroughs of New York City Renewed and amended in 1970, 1975, 1982 and 2006
US Supreme Court upheld constitutionality of VRA in South Carolina v. Katzenbach (1968) Voting Rights Act of 1970 Literacy tests permanently banned Voting Rights Act of 1975 Extended protections to language minorities Election jurisdictions must provide balloting materials in additional languages where >10% of the population speaks it as a primary language Spanish in NYC and other areas Spanish and Chinese in San Francisco hotos/uncategorized/2007/11/07/ballot.jpg hotos/uncategorized/2007/11/07/ballot.jpg
Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1982 Changed discriminatory “intent” standard to “effect” standard In order to challenge a voting practice, it is no longer necessary to prove that it was adopted with the intent to discriminate, only that it has the effect of discriminating on the basis of race This was the basis of the recent challenge to SC’s Voter ID law (disproportionate effect on black voters even if this was not its intention) Banned practices where minority voters have less opportunity than others to participate in the electoral process and “elect candidates of their choice”
Racially polarized voting: A majority of members of one racial group support one candidate and a majority of members of another racial group support another candidate In the South (and some other areas), a majority of white voters support Republicans and a majority of black voters support Democrats Makes it difficult if not impossible for minority candidates to get elected Obama carried NC in 2008 (first D since Carter 1976) Obama carried VA in 2008 and 2012 First D since Johnson in 1964 First D to carry VA in two elections since FDR Sen. Tim Scott was elected in SC in 2014 Does this refute the idea that white voters won’t support black candidates?
The VRAA of 1982 was interpreted by the Justice Department as requiring the construction of districts where minority candidates had a fair chance of being elected. This requires gerrymandering in favor of the minority group (example: NC 12 th CD, which we covered earlier).
Named for Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King Extended language-minority requirements and preclearance requirements Controversies: Should states like SC continue to be required to get federal approval for changes in voting practices because of long-ago discrimination? Supreme Court struck down formula for determining discriminatory practices in Should balloting materials be provided in languages other than English?
Felon disenfranchisement Longer residency requirements Requiring you to live in an area for a year or more before you can vote there disenfranchises mobile populations (who are more likely to be poor) Federal law now prohibits a residency requirement of longer than 30 days
Registration requirements The earlier the cutoff date to register before the election, the less likely people are to register and therefore to vote SC requires you to register 30 days before the election (most states require some advance registration period) Eight states allow you to register on Election Day and then vote immediately NC allowed you to register and then vote during the early voting period, but not on Election Day itself (abolished 2013) North Dakota has no voter registration, and very high turnout Academic studies indicate little evidence of fraud committed through this practice
Intended as safeguard against voter fraud (but academic research indicates that very little vote fraud occurs in the form of identity theft or impersonation at the polls) ID requirements make it harder to vote An estimated 11% of eligible voters do not have government-issued photo ID
Lack of ID disproportionately affects poor people in general and African-Americans in particular A black Southerner born before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is more likely to have been born at home if their mother couldn’t go to a segregated hospital to give birth If you were born at home, you’re less likely to have a birth certificate than if you were born in a hospital What if you need a birth certificate to get a photo ID?
SC’s voter photo ID law was subject to Justice Department preclearance. The Justice Department denied preclearance because it found that it would have a disproportionate effect on black citizens. On October 12, 2012, a federal court upheld the ID law but postponed it from going into effect until 2013; it is now in effect.
NC’s newly-enacted ID law is being challenged in court; the Justice Department alleges that it was designed with the intent of disenfranchising black voters. Arizona passed a law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote, which the Supreme Court struck down in This does not make it legal for non-citizens to vote; it makes it illegal to disenfranchise people who can’t document their citizenship.
Do you need an excuse to vote absentee by mail, or can anyone do it for any reason? If you don’t need an excuse for an absentee ballot, it’s easier to vote 27 states allow absentee voting with no excuse Oregon and Washington state conduct all elections by mail Significant potential for voter fraud in absentee balloting In SC, you must apply for an absentee ballot ahead of time and meet certain requirements Examples: Students attending school away from home Military personnel Anyone age 65 and older Hospitalized, job prevents you from voting while polls are open, death in family, etc.
Vote in person at a designated site (such as a public library) during a period of time prior to Election Day Available in 32 states and DC, not in SC NC had early voting for 16 days prior to an election, reduced to 9 as of this year This is supposed to make it easier to vote, but actually appears to decrease turnout The theory is that if voters’ attention is directed away from a single Election Day, they’re less likely to vote
Certain types of technology make it harder for your vote to be cast and counted accurately This became an issue in the 2000 presidential election in Florida Punch cards: 4% error rate Computerized systems: <2% error rate Poorer (more Democratic) areas were more likely to have cheaper, less accurate technology: did this actually affect the outcome of the election? Bush won Florida by 537 votes Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) Grants to states to improve voting technology
People under 18 Non-citizens People who move within 30 days of the election can vote using their old residence, not necessarily their new one Those declared mentally incompetent Convicted felons in most states Controversy regarding voting by college students In some states, living in a dorm does not meet the residency requirement to vote in the place where you attend school; this was a controversy at WU for several years In 2013, a county elections board in NC tried to have a local college student declared ineligible to run for office there; they lost. Most students use their family home as a voting address even when they’re away at school