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Chapter 14 Part One Electing the President

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1 Chapter 14 Part One Electing the President
Instructor: Kevin Sexton Course: U.S. Political Systems Southeast Missouri State University

2 Electing a President The process of electing a president is a two
step process: 1. The Parties nominate their candidate through a CAUCUS or PRIMARY. & 2. The nominees of each party face-off in the GENERAL ELECTION.

3 Party Nominations: Party Rules
The race to receive your party’s nomination for President of the United States is a party contest. Democrats are facing Democrats and Republicans are facing Republicans. For this reason, it is important to realize that the rules by which each party nominates it’s Presidential candidate are established by each individual party. Winning The Nomination = Winning Delegates The candidate that wins their party nomination will be the candidate that wins a majority of their party’s delegates. Each PARTY decides how many total delegates there will be: In the 2008 Presidential Election there will be: 4,207 Democratic Delegates & 2,380 Republican Delegates Each PARTY also decides how many delegates each State will have.

4 State By State Process Each STATE decides how they will decide how the delegates that they are allocated will be contested. In essence the presidential nomination process is a series of fifty (50) different elections. Each STATE holds a presidential primary election (caucus or direct primary). It is the individual STATE that decides which process their state is going to use. 75% Of The States Use Direct Primary 25% Of The States Use The Caucus Method

5 Caucus This system used to nominate a presidential candidate is only used in about 25% of the 50 states. Local party meetings at the precinct level. This group decides which candidate will be supported by the precinct. If more than one candidate has support, each candidate is given representation at the COUNTY caucus/convention based on the proportion of people at the meeting. The same process is followed at the COUNTY caucus/convention to decide which candidate(s) will be supported at STATE caucus/convention. It is at the STATE caucus/convention that the state decides which candidate they will support as their parties nominee for president.

6 Caucus (cont.) This process is dominated by the party faithful or party elite. Because it is very time consuming and most “average” voters will not take the time to take part in the process. In fact, in caucus states it is estimated that only 6% of eligible voters take part in the caucus process. MISSOURI has used the caucus in the past, but have recently begun using the PRIMARY as their methods of selecting their presidential nominee.

7 Primary Election An election by which each party selects the ONE candidate that will Represent their party in the general election. The winner of this election simply gets to represent their party in the General election, they DO NOT win the right to hold any elected office. Three types of primaries Closed Semi-closed Open

8 Closed Primaries Primaries in which members must declare a party (be a registered member of that party) , and by doing so they are limited to voting ONLY in their party’s primary This type of primary prevents independents from voting. New York, Florida and Pennsylvania are some of the states that use this type of primary.

9 Semi-Closed Primaries
These are primaries in which independents can vote in either (but not both) party’s primary. They simply ask for which ballot they want. Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon are some states that use primary method.

10 Open Primaries In these primaries individuals may request a ballot for either party. Individuals no not register as a member of any party. Missouri uses the OPEN PRIMARY method. The type of primary that is used can greatly influence the outcome of some primary contests. Example: 2000 Primaries and Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

11 Funding Primaries The Federal Election Commission distributes public finds to major candidates to conduct primary elections. There are a number of requirements that the candidates must meet in order receive and continue receiving these funds. These requirements are discussed on page 259 of your textbook. (hint, hint, hint) In addition to requirements to receive these funds, there are limitations placed on what candidates can spend if they accept these funds. In 2000, George Bush turned down these public funds because he had raised more money than would have been allowed had they accepted the funds. The spending limit was $40.5 million, and by the time he was eligible for any funds he had raised $70 million.

12 General Election Once each party has identified the person that will be their nominee the general election campaign begins. It is the winner of this election that will become the President of the United States. The general election is always held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Originally, the President would be the person that won the majority of the votes in the ELECTORAL COLLEGE, and the Vice-President would be the person that won the second most. (This was changed with the passage of the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1804)

13 Electoral College The electoral college is a method of indirectly electing the President And Vice-President of the United States. It is based on the idea that the registered voters of each state will elect ELECTORS (members of the Electoral College).


15 Electoral College (Cont.)
Those electors then meet in their respective State Capitals in early December to cast their Vote in two separate elections for President & Vice-President. The Certificate of Votes for President And Vice-President Is signed by the State Sec. of State and it is sent to the U.S. Senate.

16 Electoral College (Cont.)
On January 6th, the President of the Senate opens each of the “CERTIFICATES” from each state, reads and counts the votes. The individual receiving the absolute majority of the electoral votes, currently 270 of 538, for president becomes president and the individual receiving the absolute majority of the electoral votes For vice-resident becomes vice president.

17 Current Electoral Vote Distribution
The number of electoral votes each state has is based on the number of members of Congress that they have. For example: Missouri has 9 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Two (2) members of the U.S. Senate. Therefore, the State of Missouri has a total of eleven (11) ELECTORAL VOTES. CAN THE NUMBER OF ELECTORAL VOTES A STATE HAS CHANGE? YES. It can change every 10 years when Congress reapportions the seats based on the U.S. Census. California gained 8 electoral votes between 1981 and 2001 New York lost 5 electoral votes between 1981 and 2001

18 The +/- of the Electoral College (1981 – 2001)
Notice where the gains and Losses have been: Losses – The old Steel Belt -- “Rust Belt” -- “Old” Country -- Democratic Areas Gaines – The Sun Belt -- Border States -- “New” Country -- Republican Areas -5 -3 -4 -3 -3 +8 +3 +3 +5 +6

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