Presentation on theme: "Understanding Elections"— Presentation transcript:
1Understanding Elections Section 1: Election CampaignsSection 2: Campaign Funding and Political Action CommitteesSection 3: Election Day and the Voters
2Election CampaignsThe purpose of election campaigns is to help the public learn about the candidates, so that voters can make an informed decision on election day. Candidates today take advantage of media exposure and polling in order to influence the voters and get elected to public office.
3Campaign Planning Campaign Staff Campaign Strategy A campaign informs the public about the candidate and the party’s platform, their stand on important topics.Campaign ManagerFinance ChairPollsterMedia CoordinatorSchedulerIssue Advisers, othersCampaign StaffIdentify SupportersConduct polls to identify where most support isTarget the MessageUse polls and focus groups to learn which issues most important to supporters.Package the CandidateManage media coverage of candidate’s image and messageCampaign Strategy
6Conducting a Campaign Tackling the Issues Negative Campaigning On the Campaign TrailCandidates spend most of campaign time on swing states: where support for candidates is about equal, or in states where their support is greatestTackling the IssuesCandidates use stump speeches, or standard speeches usually less than 20 minutes long, express candidate’s beliefs On key issues.Many candidates use slogansNegative CampaigningCandidates may use negative campaigning, attacks on opposing candidate’s weaknesses
8Conducting a Campaign Campaigns and the Media Polls and Polling Campaign’s media coordinator uses voters’ ages to determine which type of media to use to reach them.Broadcast MediaTelevision, photos, radioMedia often use sound bites of candidates’ speechesPrint MediaNewspapers, magazines, especially adsOften more detailed than broadcast; editorials influentialThe InternetBlogs, online editions of print media, TV newsPolls and PollingPolls can show where support is weakest; show which demographic may support the candidate; influence voters
10Campaign Funding and Political Action Committees Money plays a major role in election campaigns. Candidates and their staff must carefully decide where the campaign will get money and how it will use this money.
11Funding Election Campaigns Election campaigns can be very expensive.Individual Donations: Largest source of funds; individuals contribute directly or by hosting fund-raisersContributions by PACs: Second most important source of fundsPolitical Party Contributions: Limited amounts funded by committees within a political partyPublic Funding: Comes from federal government through income tax; only available to presidential candidatesWhere the Money Comes From
12Campaign Finance Laws Early Campaign Finance Reform FECA Amendments 1907: Congress first restricts campaign funds; expanded restrictions in 1940s1971: Congress passed FECA, requires candidates, PACs, political parties to report contributions received above certain amountFECA reports must identify contributorsFECA Amendments1974: FEC (Federal Election Commission) created1979: allowances made for unlimited spending on party-building activitiesSoft MoneyNo restrictions placed on donations not given directly to candidatesBipartisan Campaign Reform Act2002: banned soft money raised for issue ads
13Interest Groups and Election Campaigns Political Action Committees Many interest groups have a PAC.How PACs Function Collects funds; distribute to political parties or candidatesLeadership PACs Not official campaign organizations; can raise unlimited fundsInfluence of PACs Allow interest groups greater voice in government; critics say too powerfulElections and 527 Groups Tax-exempt organizations that have no limit on political donationsControversies over 527 Groups First came to forefront in 2004 election (e.g., MoveOn.org)Impact of 527 Groups Critics blame for increase in negative campaigningCampaign Reform and the Media BCRA requires ads to identify who is paying for them; supporters hope this reduces negative campaigning
14Interest Groups and Election Campaigns Political Action Committees Many interest groups have a PAC.How PACs FunctionCollect fundsDistribute to political parties or candidatesLeadership PACsNot official campaign organizationsCan raise unlimited fundsInfluence of PACsAllow interest groups greater voice in governmentCritics say too powerful
15Interest Groups and Election Campaigns Elections and 527 GroupsTax-exempt organizations that have no limit on political donationsControversies over 527 GroupsFirst came to forefront in 2004 election (e.g., MoveOn.org)Impact of 527 GroupsCritics blame for increase in negative campaigningCampaign Reform and the MediaBCRA requires ads to identify who is paying for themSupporters hope this reduces negative campaigning
16Election Day and the Voters Voting is one of the main responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. Being a part of the voting process and taking an active role in electing public officials helps give all Americans a voice in their government.
17A Historic Election Night The results hinged on which candidate won Florida and its 25 electoral votes. After announcing different winners several times, the media could not declare a winner. It took more than a month before the outcome in Florida was decided.Florida officials used machines to recount ballots; results showed Bush as the winnerDemocrats asked for hand recount; high number of faulty ballotsEach party filed lawsuit to force or prevent recountsThe Recount ControversyFlorida Supreme Court ordered hand recount; decision was appealedU.S. Supreme Court declared Florida Supreme Court’s order unconstitutionalGore accepts defeatBush v. Gore
19Political Participation The United States is a democratic republic. In order to function well, its citizens must participate in politics.Voting rights extended several times in U.S. historyVoting Rates45 percent of eligible voters vote in presidential elections, less in nonpresidential or local electionsVoters under 25 least likely to voteImpact of VotingBiggest impact of voting on local elections, which have the most direct effect on people’s livesVoting Rights and ResponsibilitiesWorking on CampaignsActivities include working in campaign office, making phone calls, talking to votersWorking at the PollsPoll workers (hired employees) and Poll watchers (volunteers) at polls on election dayBecoming a CandidateOne way citizens can become more involvedBeyond the Right to Vote
20The Voting Process Steps to Voting One Person, One Vote Registering to Vote Americans must take initiative to registerCasting a Ballot Done either by casting paper ballot or by using mechanical voting machineOne Person, One VoteReapportionment Redistribution of congressional seats due to population changesRedistricting Drawing new boundaries for legislative districtsCampaigns on Election DayElection Day Activities Level of activity in an area depends on candidate’s or opponent’s level of supportGetting Out the Vote Volunteers phone supporters to remind them to vote