2 I. Becoming a VoterEveryone who is 18 or older is eligible to vote in national, state and local electionsMost important right you haveEach state decides on the exact qualifications.
3 You register with your: Name, Address, Date of Birth and Information showing that you are eligible. No one can vote more than once.When you register you can choose to register as the member of a particular political party.You can also register to be Independent, you choose not to belong to any party.
4 II. Elections Two types of elections: 1. Primary Election: takes place first, narrows the field of candidates to one that will represent the party.
6 2. General Election: Voters choose their leaders from the candidates offered by the political parties.
7 A. Primary Elections Two types of primary elections: 1. Closed: only voters who are registered in a particular party can vote to choose the party’s candidate.2. Open: Voters may vote for the candidate of either major party, whether or not the voter belongs to that party.
8 Most states have a “winner take all system” where the person who recieves the most votes wins. Some states have plurality. This means in order to win you must achieve a majority of the votes.
9 B. Independent Candidates One who does not belong to a political partyCan have their name on the ballot if enough people sign a petition.Usually only receive grassroots, or local, support.Normally not elected
10 C. General ElectionsCongress set the date for general elections as the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.Congressional elections take place every two years, presidential every four.
11 III. Voting A. Early Voting Early part of the 1800’s voting was done by voice, so your vote was public recordIn 1888 the US adopted the secret ballot which is done by paper and makes elections more honest and fair.
12 B. Voting TodayAlternatives to paper vote now include mechanical level machines, punch cards, scan sheets, computer.Polling places are open from early in the morning to around 8 at night.Voters can vote straight ticket: voting for all the candidates of a certain party.They can also vote split ticket: voting for candidates of both parties.