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Unit 3: Political Participation

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1 Unit 3: Political Participation
Elections Unit 3: Political Participation

2 What methods are used to choose candidates for public office?
Candidates are nominated for public office through: Self-announcement Caucus Convention Direct primary Petition What methods are used to choose candidates for public office?

3 Nomination is the process of selecting the candidates who will seek public office. It is a key function of American political parties. In our two-party system, the nominating process puts limits on the choices available to voters in the general election. What is nomination?

4 A person who wants to run for office can simply announce that fact
A person who wants to run for office can simply announce that fact. Whenever a write-in candidate appears, self-announcement has been used. Why might wealthy candidates favor self-announcement? Self-Announcement

5 In the early republic, key party members met in caucuses to nominate candidates.
Party members in State legislatures held caucuses to nominate candidates for State offices, while party caucuses in Congress nominated presidential candidates. Caucuses were criticized as being too small, private, and out of touch with everyday party members. The Caucus

6 Conventions Conventions replaced caucuses.
Party voters choose delegates who attend conventions, where they pick party candidates and elect delegates to attend higher level conventions. Conventions were soon controlled by party bosses. Conventions

7 By law, the direct primary is now the nominating method used by the major parties in most States.
Qualified voters cast private ballots for their preferred candidate. The person receiving the most votes is nominated. The Direct Primary

8 The Direct Primary The States regulate and conduct party primaries.
A closed primary is closed to all but declared members of a party. Usually this means being a registered party member. An open primary is open to all qualified voters. The Direct Primary

9 Open vs. Closed Primaries
Closed primaries help make candidates more responsive to their party, force voters to choose a party affiliation, and keep the opposing party from “raiding” a primary and picking the weakest candidates. Open primaries do not exclude independent voters. In many cases, open primary voters can also keep their choice of party private. Open vs. Closed Primaries

10 Primaries in State Elections

11 Depending on the State, party voters may use the presidential primary to choose delegates to their national party convention, to choose the candidate they want to be their party’s presidential nominee, or both. Presidential Primary

12 Online non-partisan Primaries?

13 At the local level, candidates may be nominated by petitions signed by a minimum number of qualified voters in the election district. Many States require minor party and independent candidates to be nominated by petition. Petitions

14 Who Controls Elections?
State governments make most election laws, as most elections are for State and local offices. The federal government sets the rules, such as the November election dates, for electing members of Congress and the President. Congress also requires the use of secret ballots, bans corruption, protects voting rights, and regulates campaign financing. Who Controls Elections?

15 Who Controls Elections?
The Help America Vote Act of 2000 requires States to: replace lever-operated and punch-card voting machines improve their administration of elections computerize voter registration systems allow provisional voting Who Controls Elections?

16 Most States hold elections for State office in November of every even-numbered year, on the Tuesday following the first Monday. Some States, such as New Jersey and Virginia, elect State officials in odd-numbered years. City, county, and other local election dates vary from State to State, usually taking place in November or in the spring. Election Day

17 What is early voting? What is early voting?
Early voting involves casting ballots before election day. States have greatly expanded early voting in recent years. Voters can apply for absentee ballots in advance and usually mail them to their local election office before election day. Two-thirds of the States also let voters cast ballots at polling places for a period of several days before election day. What is early voting?

18 What happens to the ballots?
Paper ballots are collected and taken to a counting facility. Absentee ballots are mailed to the counting facility or brought to the polling place. Electronic ballots are sent electronically or stored and sent manually. What happens to the ballots?

19 What is the coattail effect?
A strong candidate for an office at the top of a ballot can attract voters to other candidates on the party’s ticket. A weak candidate, on the other hand, can cost a party votes. Holding State and local elections on different days from federal elections might reduce this coattail effect. What is the coattail effect?

20 Precincts are small voting districts with a polling place in or near them.
Precinct election boards supervise the voting process, opening and closing the polls at times set by State law. Precinct boards must also ensure that ballots and voting devices are available and that only qualified voters cast ballots. They often count votes as well. Each party can have a poll watcher at a polling place to monitor the process. Precincts

21 Ballots can take many forms, from paper sheets to electronic records.
Voting was once public, but now every State requires the use of a secret ballot. By 1900, most States used the Australian Ballot, which remains the basic form of ballot used today. This ballot type: Is printed at public expense Lists the names of all candidates Is given out only at the polls Is marked in secret Casting Ballots

22 Office Ballot Group Most States use the office-group ballot.
All candidates for an office are grouped together under the title of that office, often in random order. This method is favored because voters must consider each choice, office by office. Office Ballot Group

23 Party Column Ballot party-column ballot, which lists all
Some States use the party-column ballot, which lists all candidates under their party’s name. This encourages straight-ticket voting and the coattail effect. Party Column Ballot

24 The so-called bed-sheet ballots in most U. S
The so-called bed-sheet ballots in most U.S. elections are very long, listing many candidates, offices, and ballot measures. Critics say this length makes it hard for voters to know all the candidates and their qualifications. Some argue that only those who make public policy should be elected, while the many local officials who administer policies could be appointed to office. Bed Sheet Ballots

25 Voting systems based on electronic data processing include optical scanners and direct response electronic voting machines (DREs). Some fear that DREs could be attacked by computer hackers. Electronic Voting

26 A number of States conduct some of their voting on local city or county measures by mail.
Oregon holds all its elections by mail. Critics fear that vote-by-mail is subject to fraud and may lack privacy. Supporters say the method increases voter participation, costs less than operating polls, and is as reliable as other voting methods. Vote By Mail Elections

27 Online voting may be the wave of the future, having been used on a small scale in presidential primaries. Supporters say online voting will be more convenient, less expensive, and likely to increase voter participation. Critics fear technical problems, computer viruses, and hackers. They also point out that not all Americans can afford a home computer. Online Voting

28 In 2008, presidential candidates spent some $2.5 billion.
In September alone, Obama and McCain each spent an average of: $25.2 million on TV and radio ads $4.1 million on travel $2 million on campaign worker salaries $800,000 on polls Campaign Spending

29 Some $1.5 billion was spent on House and Senate contests in 2008.
It now costs about $1 million to run for a House seat, and up to 20 times that to campaign for a Senate seat. What factors may account for the rise seen in the chart to the right? Campaign Spending…

30 Where does the $ come from?
Most money comes from private givers, such as small contributors, wealthy individuals, political action committees (PACs), temporary fundraising groups, and candidates themselves. Campaigns, particularly presidential campaigns, receive public funds from federal and state treasuries as well. Where does the $ come from?

31 The Internet has become a major fundraising tool, particularly for outsider candidates.
Barack Obama raised some $230 million via the Internet in 2008, mostly in sums of less than $100. Funding Sources

32 Candidates also raise money through telethons and fundraising dinners.
People typically give money because they believe in a party or candidate, wish to influence public policy, or want improved access to government Funding Sources

33 Congress regulates the use of money in federal elections
Congress regulates the use of money in federal elections. It passed the most recent campaign finance law in 2002. Federal laws require the disclosure of campaign finances, limit contributions and expenditures, and provide federal funding for presidential elections. The Federal Election Commission often struggles to enforce campaign finance laws due to a lack of staff and funds. Regulating Funds

34 Disclosure Requirements
Each candidate has a single committee responsible for all campaign spending and recording all campaign contributions. Contributions over $200 must be identified by date, purpose, and the name of the giver. Contributions of more than $5,000 must be reported to the FEC. Cash gifts of more than $100 are prohibited, as are contributions and spending from foreign sources. Disclosure Requirements

35 Limits on Contributions
No person can give over $2,300 to a federal candidate in a primary or general election. No person can give more than $5,000 to a PAC or $28,500 to a national party in a single year. No person can give more than $108,200 total in a two-year election cycle. Before these limits were imposed in 1974, individuals often gave larger amounts. Limits on Contributions

36 More than 4,000 political action committees (PACs) are active today:
Most represent special interest groups such as business associations and labor unions. They can raise money only from members. Other PACs are unconnected committees that can raise money from the public. No PAC can give more than $5,000 to a candidate in a primary or general election. But a PAC can give to as many candidates as it chooses and give up to $15,000 a year to a political party. PAC Contributions

37 Limits on Expenditures
The Supreme Court has ruled that the 1st Amendment protection of free speech means that most campaign spending limits are unconstitutional. This is because candidates spend money to share their message with the American people. Limits on Expenditures

38 The Presidential Election Campaign Fund, established in 1971, uses taxpayer money to help fund pre-convention campaigns, national party conventions, and presidential election campaigns. The system is set up so that only candidates with national organizations can qualify for funding. If a presidential candidate accepts public funding for the general election, his or her campaign cannot take funds from any other source and is limited in what it can spend. Public Funding

39 A lack of taxpayer support and the rising cost of campaigns may doom the public funding program.
In 2008, Barack Obama became the first candidate to refuse federal funds for the general election, raising more than $300 million privately. Public Funding

40 Federal law puts limits on hard money—contributions given directly to candidates.
In the 1980s, the major parties began raising millions in unregulated soft money—funds given to parties or political organizations. In 2000, some $500 million in soft money had been raised. This money could be spent on “issue ads” supporting or opposing certain policies. Hard Money v. Soft Money

41 In 2002, the McCain-Feingold Law banned soft-money contributions to political parties.
But independent political groups, often called “527s,” still can and do raise millions in soft money. Groups such as 527s spent several hundred million dollars in soft money during the 2008 presidential campaigns. Soft Money

42 Elections in plain english

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