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Unit 2: Topic - Voters & Voter Behavior

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1 Unit 2: Topic - Voters & Voter Behavior

2 The Right to Vote “It is not enough that people have the right to vote…People must have the reason to vote as well.” Jesse Jackson

3 Major Ideas/Questions
The history of voting rights in the United States Constitutional restrictions on the States’ power to set voting qualifications Why does this matter? Democratic government can succeed only if it’s citizens vote! What is suffrage? Franchise? Electorate?

4 History of Voting Rights
The founding fathers of the Constitution left the power to set suffrage qualifications to each State. Suffrage – The right to vote Franchise is another term for suffrage with the same meaning – The right to vote So who has been left out from voting in American history? Turn around to the person behind you and come up with some examples. 2-3 Minutes.

5 Suffrage Today, all people who can vote is considered the electorate
Electorate – The potential voting population The American Electorate is about 220 million people strong But not everyone could vote, such as women and African Americans. Even some whites couldn’t vote. When the Constitution went into effect in 1789, only white male property owners could vote.




9 Suffrage Extending suffrage occurred in five stages. All stages were based on lifting restrictions from voting based on religion, property ownership, tax payment, race, and sex. 15th Amendment – Ratified in Intended to protect any citizen from being denied the right to vote because of race or color. But was this enforced? How were blacks still left out from voting? 19th Amendment – Ratified in Allowed women to vote. The power over who has the right to vote has been taken from the States’ and has been assumed by the Federal Government instead.

10 Suffrage The 24th amendment, ratified in 1964 eliminated the poll tax
This, along with the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s finally gave blacks the “true” right to vote. Orange – Poll Tax Red – Cumulative Poll Tax (If you didn’t pay in the last election, you had to pay for that too) Gray – No Poll Tax

11 How did some States deny the right to vote?
Literacy Tests (You’ll all take an actual literacy test) Poll taxes Intimidation Gerrymandering – Drawing electoral districts in order to limit the voting strength of a particular group or party. This particularly hurt African Americans.

12 How did some States deny the right to vote?
But couldn’t these ways of systematically denying voting rights to blacks also hurt whites? Yes, because some whites were illiterate or couldn’t afford to pay a poll tax as well As a result, “grandfather clauses” were created in some States. This meant that any man, or his male descendants, who had voted in the State before the 15th amendment could become a voter without literacy tests or poll taxes.

The latest stage of suffrage was the adoption of the 26th amendment. The 26th amendment was ratified in 1971 and sets the voting age from 18 and up. Why do you think the Federal Government took over more and more control of voting qualifications from the States? Just a mere 55 years ago, hundreds of thousands people were denied their right to vote. Today, all those 18 years & older can vote…but not all do. DON’T TAKE YOUR RIGHTS FOR GRANTED!

14 6.2 – 6.3 – Voter Qualifications & Civil Rights
We know the 26th amendment grants voting rights to those 18 and older There are three universal requirements to vote: Citizenship Residence Age (18 & older)

15 Citizenship You must be a citizen of the United States to vote.
What about non-citizens? Non-citizens – Foreign born residents who have not become citizens Non-citizens are generally denied the right to vote, yet nothing in the Constitution says that non-citizens cannot vote, and technically any State could allow them to do so if it chose.

16 Residence In order to vote, one must be a legal resident of the State in which he or she wishes to cast a ballot. In most States, a person must have lived in the State for a certain amount of time before he or she can vote Why? Because it prevents the political machine from importing/bribing outsiders to influence an outcome of a state/local election. Allow new voters at least some time to become familiar with the candidates and issues in an election

17 Residence It would probably be weird if people from Ohio or Texas could vote in Virginia’s state and local elections, right? Today, residence length requirements have been shortened. 30 days is the longest a state/locality can require until voting. This is a result of the 1970 Voting Rights Act Amendments and the 1972 Supreme Court decision in Dunn v. Blumstein.

18 Residence But what about traveling salesmen, a military member, or a out-of-state college student? Could they vote in their state? No! They are called transients Transients – Persons living in a State for only a short time In nearly every State, transients are prohibited from voting.

19 Age As we know, the 26th amendments makes the voting age 18 & older
Up until the 26th amendment in 1971, the voting age was 21 A major argument in lowering the voting age was:

20 Age So do us young people vote?! Sadly…no
In the 2000 election, only 28% of voters aged voted. 2004 election: 38% 2008 election: Our best turnout yet - about 50%. 66% voters aged voted for Obama. In my opinion, young people won the presidency of Barack Obama

21 Other Qualifications Registration – A procedure of voter identification intended to prevent fraudulent voting. All states except North Dakota require that most or all voters be registered to vote. There are some who argue that the registration requirement should be abolished, everywhere. Why? The Federal Government has tried to make it easier by establishing the Motor Voter Law The Motor Voter Law (1995) – Allows all eligible citizens to register to vote when they apply for or renew a driver’s license

22 6.4 – Voter Behavior “Your Vote is Your Voice. Use it.” – Rock the Vote. The word “idiot” came to our language from the Greek. In ancient Athens, idiots (idiotes) were those citizens who did not vote or otherwise take part in public life.

23 Why People Don’t Vote We have millions of eligible voters who choose not to vote. Why? Cannot Voters These are voters where it is true that they do not vote, but the fact is that they cannot vote as well Resident non-citizens Voters who were sick/physically disabled Unexpected travelers People in mental health care facilities

24 Why People Don’t Vote Actual Nonvoters
Americans who could vote, but choose not to Millions of people fall into this category They are convinced that it makes little real difference who wins a particular election Some actual nonvoters feel alienated or ignored by politicians, and they don’t trust the political process or political institutions. No sense of political efficacy. Political Efficacy – One’s own influence on politics.

25 Other Factors Inconvenient Inconvenient election procedures
Long lines at the polls Bad weather “Time-Zone Fallout” – In Eastern/Central time-zones, we close the polls earlier than out West where they are a few hours behind. Results start getting announced and people out West get discouraged to vote. Work/School/Busy

26 Predictors of a Voter People most likely to vote:
Higher levels of income Education Occupational Status Well integrated in community life Older People unlikely to vote: Younger than 35 Unmarried Unskilled Uneducated Southerners Live in rural areas

27 So, what are factors that influence voters to vote?
Sociological Factors Income, Occupation Voters in who don’t make much money with manual labor jobs tend to vote for Democrats Voters with higher incomes with professional or business jobs tend to vote for Republicans Gender, Age Women & Men vote differently on abortion, health care, and other social issues. Gender Gap – Women tend to vote Democrat, Men tend to vote Republican Young voters tend to vote Democrat. Older voters tend to vote Republican. Religious, Ethnic Background Protestants tend to vote Republican, Catholics and Jews tend to vote Democrat.

28 More factors African American (second largest minority in the U.S.) voters tend to vote Democrat For Latino’s, it depends: Cuban Americans tend to vote Republican Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans tend to vote Democrat Geography Democrats tend to get votes from big cities and in the Northeast. Republicans tend to get votes from the suburbs and rural areas Family – If your parents are Republican, you’re more likely to vote Republican! (Same if they are Democrats)

29 Conclusion Certain factors, like age, gender, education level, and your job is a predictor of who you vote for But millions choose not to vote for various reasons Your vote is a right that many before you did not have, so use your vote as your voice!

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