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Voter Behavior, Political Parties and The Electoral College

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Presentation on theme: "Voter Behavior, Political Parties and The Electoral College"— Presentation transcript:

1 Voter Behavior, Political Parties and The Electoral College

2 Voter Behavior Compulsory voting means the people are required to vote by law.

3 Reasons for Compulsory Voting
Decisions made by voters are more legitimate if a high percentage of the population votes Voting has an educational effect on the population Political parties do not have to spend money trying to get people to vote Voting is a civic duty, not just a right

4 Reasons Against Compulsory Voting
Violates freedom to choose to vote May discourage education if citizens resent having to vote Puts the burden on the government to enforce the voting law May increase random or blank ballots

5 Possible Penalties Required explanation in writing Fines Imprisonment
Denied certain goods or services Difficulty getting a job, passport, license, child care, etc.

6 Voter Behavior The purpose of voting is to hold public officials accountable for their actions Elections allow citizens to participate in gov’t Free Elections are one of the things that distinguish democracy from dictatorship

7 Who Does and Does not Vote
Up to 2/3 of registered voters do not vote in America Age – Most voters are between 30-75 College graduates vote in much higher numbers than high school dropouts Middle and high income Americans are more likely to vote than those with low income

8 How Voters Choose Among Candidates
Party Affiliation - #1 factor in deciding who to vote for Issues – 2nd most critical factors Swing Voters – Those without strong party affiliations. They tend to vote the issues. Candidate Characteristics – 3rd most important factor (appearance, skill, experience, record of public service, etc.)

9 Incumbent A candidate already holding office

10 Is non-voting a serious problem?
Negative View – Non-voters deny themselves representation in gov’t, which can lead to class or age bias by politicians Positive View – Non-voting represents a basic level of satisfaction among the population

11 Political Parties have an impact on voting.

12 What Political Parties Do
Get candidates elected to office Recruit candidates and support campaigns Help organize elections and inform voters Organize the gov’t – majority party chooses the speaker of the house Creates platforms Minority party serves as the loyal opposition/watchdog group

13 Dividing Factor of the First 2 Political Parties
Disagreed over how power should be distributed Federalists wanted a strong national government Democratic Republicans wanted strong state governments

14 Democrat Beliefs Strong federal government
Tax cuts for the poor, higher taxes for the rich Support gov’t regulation of business Oppose prayer in schools Support the right to abortion Support gun control laws Support minimum wage laws

15 Republican Beliefs Support limiting the size of the national gov’t
Support giving more power to the states Favor lower taxes Oppose strong gov’t regulation of business Support prayer in schools Oppose abortion Oppose gun control laws Oppose minimum wage laws

16 What Function do 3rd Parties Serve?
Allow people to express their frustration with the political system as it is and express their opinions in constructive ways

17 The Electoral College is the group of presidential electors who cast the official votes for president and vice president.

18 Purpose of the Electoral College
Difficulty of counting all the votes Framers did not trust the voter masses to select the President

19 Number of Electors Each state has electors equal to the number of state representatives in Congress Total number – 538 Number needed to win - 270

20 Criticism Undemocratic
3 times (1876, 1888, 2000) candidates won the popular vote but not the electoral vote

21 Options Direct popular vote (requires a Constitutional Amendment)
Congressional district method (Maine and Nebraska) National Popular Vote – Electoral votes go to the candidate that wins the national popular vote (does not require a Constitutional Amendment)

22 11 largest Electoral Votes
California – 55 Texas – 34 New York – 31 Florida – 27 Pennsylvania – 21 Illinois - 21 Ohio – 20 Michigan – 17 Georgia – 15 New Jersey – 15 North Carolina - 15

23 Counting the Votes The 11 highest states have 271 votes combined
This is enough to win the election Florida is ranked 4th and has 27 Therefore, Florida’s vote is very significant in the outcome of the Presidential election

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