Presentation on theme: "The Right to Vote The Framers of the Constitution purposefully left the power to set suffrage qualifications to each State When the Constitution went into."— Presentation transcript:
1 The Right to VoteThe Framers of the Constitution purposefully left the power to set suffrage qualifications to each StateWhen the Constitution went into effect in 1789, the right to vote was restricted to white male property owners.Only 1 in 15 adult white males could vote in electionsToday, more than 205 million people qualify to vote
2 5 Stages of Extending Suffrage Early 1800s – religious qualifications disappeared, followed by property ownership and tax qualifications. By the mid 1800s almost all adult white male could vote.Following the Civil War, the 15th amendment tried to end voter discrimination due to race.19th amendment guaranteed the right to vote for womenDuring the 1960s, Congress took steps to guarantee suffrage for African Americans26th amendment extended voting rights to 18 year olds
3 The Power to Set Voting Qualifications 5 Restrictions placed on StatesEach state must allow eligible voters to vote in all elections within the stateNo state can deprive a person the right to vote because of raceNo state can deprive a person the right to vote on account of genderNo state can require the payment of a poll taxNo state can deprive a person over the age of 18 the right to vote because of age.
4 Voter Qualifications 3 factors used to determine voter eligibility CitizenshipResidenceImportant to keep political machines from importing enough outsiders to affect the outcome of the election and to ensure that every voter has at least some time in which to become familiar with the candidates and issues in an election.Age
5 Other Requirements Registration Literacy Tests It gives officials a list of people who are eligible to vote in elections, and it helps to prevent voter fraud.Motor Voter LawAllows citizens to register to vote when they renew their driver’s licenseLiteracy TestsRuled illegal by the Voting Rights Act of 1970Citizens must pass a literacy test to be able to vote. Used as a barrier to prevent African Americans from voting after the Civil War“grandfather clause” – because many whites also could not read or write, literacy tests contained a provision that stated a person may vote without passing a literacy test if any male ancestor could vote.
6 Other Requirements (cont.) Poll TaxDeclared illegal in the 24th amendmentRequired a tax be paid prior to participating in an election.
7 The 15th Amendment“Right to vote cannot be denied to any citizen of the United States because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”Intended to ensure the right to vote for African AmericansSoutherners tried to block the effect of this amendment by using intimidation, literacy tests, poll taxes, gerrymandering, and white primaries
8 GerrymanderingThe practice of drawing electoral district lines in order to limit the voting strength of a particular group or party.Ruled unconstitutional in Gomillion v. Lightfoot (1960)
9 White PrimariesBecause political parties are “private associations” they believed they could bar African Americans from voting in primary elections, thus excluding them from an important step in the public election processSmith v. Allwright (1944) outlawed white primaries because nominations are an integral part of the election process
10 Civil Rights Legislation Civil Rights Act of 1957Set up the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to check into claims of voter discrimination, gave the attorney general authority to prevent interference with any person’s right to vote in a federal electionCivil Rights of 1960Added an additional safeguard by allowing the appointment of federal voting referees when voter discrimination is uncovered
11 Legislation (cont.) Civil Rights Act of 1964 Voting Rights Act of 1965 Broader and more effective than its predecessors.Outlaws discrimination in several areas, especially job related mattersForbids the use of any voter registration or literacy requirement in an unfair or discriminatory manner and makes violation a federal offenceVoting Rights Act of 1965Made the 15th amendment a truly effective part of the ConstitutionApplied to all elections held anywhere in the country
12 Voter BehaviorIn the 2000 election million Americans were eligible to voteOnly million (51.2%) actually voted for presidentOnly 99 million (48%) voted for U.S. RepresentativeIn the 1998 off-year election, only 66,033 (33.9%) voted for U.S. Representative
13 Why People Don’t Vote “cannot vote” nonvoters (20 million) Resident aliensIll or physically cannot make it to the pollsTraveling out of country unexpectedlyPeople in mental health care facilitiesIn jail or prisonReligious nonvotersActual nonvoters (80 million)People deliberately choose not to voteConvinced it makes no real difference who winsSatisfactionDistrust of politics and politiciansLack of political efficacy (lack of any sense of their own influence or effectiveness in politics.)
14 Factors Affecting Turnout Complicated election proceduresInconvenient registration requirementsLong ballotsLong lines at polling placesBad weatherTime-zone FalloutBecause polls have closed in the east and central time-zones, a winner may be declared before some people vote in the mountain and pacific zonesLack of Interest
15 Who Votes? The people most likely to vote: Display such characteristics as higher levels of income, education, and occupational status.They are well-integrated into community life, long-time residents, who are active and comfortable in their surroundingsStrong party identification, and believe voting is importantWomen are more likely to vote than men
16 Who Doesn’t Vote? People are less likely to vote if: They are younger than 35, unmarried, and unskilledThey live in the South and in rural areas
17 Sociological FactorsPolitical Socialization is the process by which people come to believe what they believe about politicsFactors that influence voting behaviorIncome, occupation (higher income – Republican)Education (more education – Republican, however, education make you more liberal)Gender, Age (women, young people – Democrat)Religion (Protestants – Republican, Catholics, Jews – Democrat)Geography (South/Midwest – Republican, Northeast/West – Democrat)Family (You vote the way your parents voted)
18 Psychological Factors A strong party identification is the single most significant and lasting predictor of how a person will vote.Straight-ticket voting – voting for candidates of only one party in an electionSplit-ticket voting – voting for candidates of more than one party in the same electionThe impression a candidate makes on the voters can have an impact on how they will voteThe role of issues are especially important in presidential elections, people care about the things that effect them most.