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Elections and Voting. Election Campaigns  Serious candidates for president begin organizing over a year before the election to compete in spring primaries.

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Presentation on theme: "Elections and Voting. Election Campaigns  Serious candidates for president begin organizing over a year before the election to compete in spring primaries."— Presentation transcript:

1 Elections and Voting

2 Election Campaigns

3  Serious candidates for president begin organizing over a year before the election to compete in spring primaries.  After the nominating convention, the candidate runs an intensive campaign from early September until the November election.

4  Electoral Votes and the States ◦ To win a presidential election, a candidate must receive a majority of the electoral votes, so candidates compete hardest in high-population states.  Campaign Strategy ◦ The candidate must decide on the kind of strategy most likely to achieve victory.

5  Campaign Organization ◦ A strong organization, headed by an experienced campaign manager, is essential in running a presidential campaign.  Campaign Manager: the person responsible for the overall stagy and planning of a campaign  Using TV and Internet ◦ Television conveys the candidate’s image, while Web sites can be used to raise money and inform the public about the candidate. ◦ Image: mental picture that voters have of a candidate

6  Running for office is very expensive.  Candidates need money for such things as office space, staff salaries, consultants, pollsters, travel, campaign literature, and advertising in the mass media.  Presidential and congressional candidates spent a total of $3 billion dollars in the 2002 elections.

7  Regulating Campaign Financing ◦ In the 1970s, a new campaign financing system was set up based on:  public disclosure of spending,  public funding of presidential elections,  and limiting or prohibiting the contributions of certain groups. ◦ Created in 1974, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent agency that administers federal election laws and keeps records of campaign contributions.

8  Public Funding ◦ The 1974 campaign finance law also established public funding for presidential campaigns. ◦ Presidential candidates may accept federal funding from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund for the primary campaigns and the general election. ◦ Candidates must agree to limit their total campaign spending. ◦ Third party candidates can receive federal funds if their party receive at least 5% of the vote in the previous Presidential election.

9  Private Funding ◦ The majority of campaign funding comes from private sources, including individual citizens, party organizations, corporations, and special-interest groups. ◦ Political Action Committees, or PACs, are established by interest groups to support candidates, but they are limited in the donations they can make.  PACs: organizations formed to collect money and provide financial support for political candidates

10  Private Funding ◦ Two methods are used to get around campaign spending limits:  Soft-money donations, which are contributions given directly to a political party for general purposes such as voter registration drives.  Issue-advocacy advertisements, which support an issue rather than a particular candidate.

11  Private Funding ◦ The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, passed in 2002, bans soft-money donations to national political parties, but its constitutionality remains in question.  Campaign Law and the Internet ◦ The FEC regulates campaigns online; for example, all campaign Web sites that cost $250 dollars or more must be registered with the FEC.

12 Expanding Voter Rights

13  Before the American Revolution many groups were excluded from voting: ◦ Women ◦ African Americans ◦ White males who did not own property ◦ Persons who were not members of dominant religious groups

14  During the early 1800s, states gradually abolished property and religious requirements for voting, and by the mid- 1800s, the nation had achieved universal white male suffrage. ◦ Suffrage: The right to vote

15  By 1914 women had won the right to vote in 11 states.  The Nineteenth Amendment, ratified after World War I, granted women in all states the right to vote.

16  Enslaved African Americans were not allowed to vote, and free African Americans could vote in only a few states, until 1870.  The Fifteenth Amendment, passed after the Civil War, granted the vote to African Americans in both state and national elections.

17  The Fifteenth Amendment did not result in full voting rights for African Americans.  Southern states set up restrictive voting qualifications.  Some southern states used literacy tests to disqualify African Americans from voting.  The Voting Rights Acts of 1965 and 1970 outlawed these tests.

18  Poll taxes and grandfather clauses were devices used to discourage African Americans from voting. ◦ Poll Tax: money paid in order to vote ◦ Grandfather Clause: provided that only voters whose grandfathers had voted before 1867 were eligible to vote without paying a poll tax or passing a literacy test  The Twenty-fourth Amendment banned poll taxes.

19  The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and later voting rights laws brought the federal government directly into the electoral process in the states.  The bill ended official discrimination against African Americans and increased their political strength and participation in government.

20  For many years the minimum voting age is most states was 21.  This amendment lowered the voting age to 18 throughout the nation.  The amendment helped satisfy those young people who could be drafted into the military but could not vote.

21 Influences on Voters

22  Age ◦ Voters’ ages may affect their views and determine their voting decisions.  Other Background Influence ◦ Education, religion, and racial or ethnic background affect voters’ attitudes, but voters do not always vote in keeping with their backgrounds.  The Cross-Pressured Voter ◦ Cross-pressured voters, those caught between conflicting elements in their lives, may vote based on the issues and candidates.

23  Because the majority of American voters consider themselves either Republicans or Democrats, most vote for their party’s candidates.  Independent Voters ◦ Independent voters, who have increased in numbers, do not belong to either major party but are an important element in presidential elections.

24  Strong vs. Weak Party Voters ◦ Not all party members vote for all their party’s candidates. ◦ Strong party voters are those that select their party’s candidate in election after election. ◦ Weak party voters are more likely to switch their votes from time to time.

25  Many current voters are better informed than past voters because they are better educated.  Current issues have a greater impact on voters’ personal lives.  Television imparts information on issues.  Still most voters are not fully informed on campaign issues.

26  The 1980 presidential election demonstrated the importance of issues: ◦ The high rate of inflation ◦ The high cost of living ◦ The high rate of unemployment ◦ These issues were debated by the candidates that clearly helped Reagan win the election.

27  Americans want someone they can trust as a national leader.  Voters often select candidates for the image they project.  Image: mental picture that voters have of a candidate

28  Political parties and candidates use ideas, information, and rumors to influence voters with propaganda techniques.  Name calling, testimonials, bandwagon, transfer, plain folks, and card stacking help to win votes.

29  Regular voters have positive attitudes toward government and citizenship.  Generally, regular voters have more education and a higher than average income.  Middle-aged citizens have the highest voter turnout.

30  They may not meet citizenship, residency, and registration requirements.  The percentage of voters among those who are eligible has declined.

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