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