4 Suffrage Suffrage: the right to vote Typically only white, male landowners could vote.The expansion of voting rights was accomplished by adding amendments to the Constitution.15th Amendment: No person could be denied the right to vote because of race or color.19th Amendment: Women were given the right to vote.26th Amendment: Lowered the voting age to 18.
5 Voting RequirementsWhen an American citizen turns 18, he/she can vote in all local, state, and national elections.In some states, people who are imprisoned cannot vote.Some who suffer with certain mental illnesses may lose their eligibility.Immigrants cannot vote until they go through naturalization.
6 Voting ProcessRegistering to VotePreparing to VoteCasting your Vote
7 Registering Register: to record or enroll You need to fill out a form, provide your ID, and you may choose a political party.National Voter Registration Act: requires states to let people register when they renew their licenses.
8 PreparingA prepared voter is a voter who is informed about public issues and current events.Sources of information include speeches, debates, and campaign literature (letters, pamphlets, ads).You decide where you stand on the issues.
9 Casting Your VoteEarly voting: citizens can vote during a set period of time before Election Day.Polling place: location where voting takes place.When you arrive, you present ID, and once approved, you go into the booth.Ballot: list of candidates for which you cast your vote.Citizens who cannot vote at the polls on Election Day can vote by absentee ballot. (must be requested)
10 Your Vote CountsThe U.S. is pledged to the ideal of equality. (Your vote will be counted exactly the same as everyone else’s.)Reasons to Vote:Voting is a right and a responsibility.Voting gives you a chance to choose your government leaders.Allows you to express satisfaction or dissatisfaction with those in office.Gives you a voice on how your community, state, and country are run.
11 Voter ParticipationVoter turnout rate: percentage of eligible voters who actually voter. (Is often below 50% in the U.S.)Why is voter turnout low?Apathy: lack of interestPeople feel they are “too busy”.People fail to register.
13 Primary Elections Step 1: primary election Usually held in the spring or summer.Purpose: choose one candidate from each party to run in the general election.
14 General ElectionsAlways take place on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.National elections are held in even-numbered years.All seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and about one-third of the seats in the Senate are up for election every 2 years.Presidential elections are held every 4 years.For most offices, the candidate who wins the most votes wins the election.Recount: all the votes are counted a second time if requested by the losing party.
15 Voice in GoverningInitiative: process that lets voters propose new laws (propositions) or amendments to state constitutions.Referendum: asks voters to accept or reject a law passed by a state or local legislature.
16 Special ElectionsRecall: people vote on whether to remove an official from office.In case of death or resignation by an official: a special election might be held to fill a empty office.Called “special” because they do not take place at a regularly scheduled time.
17 Electoral CollegeThe Constitution set up the Electoral College system.When the Framers discussed how to choose the president, two different views arose:Some wanted the American people to have direct control over government.Others felt that giving the people the power to choose the president might be dangerous because people could be too easily moved by emotions to make a wise choice, they feared.The Framers settled on a mixed system. Electors choose the president, but the popular vote chooses the electors.
18 Electoral CollegeWhen voters cast their ballots in a presidential race, they are actually electing special representatives called electors.These electors have pledged to vote for a particular candidate.Electors represent their state in the group known as the Electoral College.Each state has the same number of electors as it has members of Congress. In addition, the District of Columbia has three electors. As a result, there are 538 electors in all.
19 Electoral CollegeAfter a presidential election, in December, the winning electors meet in their state capitals.They cast their electoral votes for president and vice president.They send their votes to the Senate.In January, the House and Senate meet to count these votes.The candidate who wins a majority of the electoral votes—at least 270—is the winner of the election.The electoral vote determines the president.The purpose of the popular vote, the votes cast directly by the people, is to choose the electors.
20 CriticismsA candidate who loses the popular vote can still win the electoral vote and the presidency.This has happened four times in our nation’s history, most recently in 2000.It is extremely difficult for third-party candidates to be represented in the electoral vote.Many Americans think we should elect the president by direct popular vote.Others think that a state’s electoral votes should be divided among candidates according to how many popular votes they receive.No change to the Electoral College can happen without amending the Constitution.
21 CampaigningAn election campaign is a candidate’s effort to win an election.First, a candidate must meet the qualifications for office.For example, a candidate for president must be at least 35 years old, have lived in the United States for at least 14 years, and be a natural-born citizen.Form an exploratory committee whose job is to find out how much support the person is likely to get.If a full campaign seems worthwhile, the candidate will publicly announce that he or she is running for office.