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Unit 4: Voter Qualifications & Voter Behavior

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1 Unit 4: Voter Qualifications & Voter Behavior
The 3 Universal (and 1 almost-universal) requirements to vote in America

2 1) citizenship Aliens (foreign-born residents who have not yet become citizens) are generally denied the right to vote in the u.s. NOTE: nothing in the Constitution says that aliens can not vote. Therefore, it is left up to the states to decide. (Currently All 50 states deny suffrage to aliens.)

3 2) Residence One must be a legal resident of the state in which he/she wishes to vote. Most states require that you live there for a certain period of time before you can vote. (In PA the time period is 30 days) Transients- persons living in a state for only a temporary period of time (ex. Traveling salesman, member of military, college student, etc.) are not considered to be legal residents of the states and therefore can not vote there.

4 3) AGE The 26th Amendment (1971) states that no state could set the minimum voting age at higher than 18. Note: States can set the voting age lower if they so desire. By 2000, only 40% of yr olds were registered to vote & only 28% of those actually voted. (By comparison, 76% of people age 65 & up were registered and 68% of them actually voted.)

5 * 4) registration The U.S. is the only democratic nation on Earth in which each person gets to decide whether or not to register to vote. Currently 49 states (all except ND) require voters to be registered. Once registered, you remain so until you move, die, are convicted of a serious crime, or are committed to a mental institution. Purging- reviewing lists of registered voters & removing names of those no longer eligible. (Done every 2-4 yrs.)

6 The “Motor-Voter” Law (1995)
3 provisions: States must Allow all eligible citizens to register to vote when they apply for or renew their driver’s license. States must allow voter registration to be done by mail. States must make voter registration forms available at all local state offices & agencies.

7 Persons denied the right to vote:
Mental Patients Convicts Those Dishonorably Discharged from the military Resident aliens

8 Voter Behavior Idiot – A Greek word used to describe citizens who did not vote. (In 2012, there was a 51.2% voter turnout for the Obama/Romney election. This means that more than 100 million Americans who were of voting age did not vote.) *** 100,000,000 idiots!!!!

9 Terms to know: Non-voters – All people eligible to vote who for whatever reason do not. Ballot fatigue – Less votes cast for offices at the end of the ballot.

10 Reasons Why People Don’t Vote:
*** Time is definitely Not a factor Can-Not Voters: 10,000,000 resident aliens 6,000,000 ill or disabled 3,000,000 traveling unexpectedly 2,000,000 in jail 500,000 mentally ill What about the millions of others?

11 Reasons Why People Don’t Vote: cont.
Can-voters who simply don’t: Many believe that their vote just does not matter. Current satisfaction Distrust of politics & politicians ** lack political efficacy Inconvenient registration requirements Long ballots Long lines “Time-Zone” fallout ** 8. Most Simply Are Not Interested.

12 Comparing Voters & Non-Voters
Higher levels of income & education Higher Job status Involved in their community Long-time residents Strong sense of party identification Non-Voters Under 35 years old Unmarried Unskilled Rural Live in south male

13 Sociological Factors & Voting
With what Party do members of each of the following groups tend to align? Why? Low Income Brackets High Income Brackets White-Collar Workers Blue-Collar Workers College Graduates Women Men Young Voters Non-Whites Urban Residents Rural Residents Easterners Westerners Northerners Southerners

14 Voter Loyalty By Region
2008 Presidential Election

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