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 © 2001 by Prentice Hall, Inc. Chapter 7 – The Electoral Process.

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1  © 2001 by Prentice Hall, Inc. Chapter 7 – The Electoral Process

2 A Critical First Step Chapter 7, Section 1 In the United States, the election process occurs in two steps: 1. Nomination – Each party narrows the field of candidates down to one 2. General election - The regularly scheduled election where voters make the final choice of officeholder

3 The Presidential Nomination  Candidates for president win their party’s nomination by winning a majority of the delegates at the party’s national convention. Delegates are awarded in two ways:  Caucuses – Small meetings (precincts) are held to discuss the candidates, then a candidate is chosen. Representatives are then sent to county level meetings, and then state level meetings.  Primaries – People simply vote for the candidate they believe should represent their party in the general election

4 Primaries Types of Primaries Closed Primary Only registered party members can participate Open Primary Any registered voter can participate Blanket Primary Any registered voter can participate – candidates are listed by office, not party

5 Criticisms of the Nomination Process  There are many criticisms of the nomination process. They include:  The first primary (New Hampshire) and the first caucus (Iowa) get too much media attention despite the fact they are not very representative of the U.S. as a whole  Voters/participants in primaries and caucuses are more ideological than the voters in the general election  It increases the costs of campaigning

6 Chapter 7, Section 2 The Administration of Elections Congress has the power to set the time, place, and manner of congressional and presidential elections. Congress has chosen the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of every even numbered year for congressional elections, with the presidential election being held the same day every fourth year. States determine the details of the election of thousands of State and local officials. Most States provide for absentee voting, for voters who are unable to get to their regular polling places on election day. Some States within the last few years have started to allow voting a few days before election day to increase voter participation. Elections are primarily regulated by State law, but there are some overreaching federal regulations.

7 Casting the Ballot  Voting was initially done orally. It was considered “manly” to speak out your vote without fear of reprisal.  Paper ballots began to be used in the mid-1800s. At first, people provided their own ballots. Then, political machines began to take advantage of the flexibility of the process to intimidate, buy, or manufacture votes.  In the late 1800s, ballot reforms cleaned up ballot fraud by supplying standardized, accurate ballots and mandating that voting be secret. These reforms were first introduced in Australia – Australian ballot. Chapter 7, Section 2 History of the Ballot

8 Voting Today  Most ballots cast today are cast on some sort of automated voting machine  Today most machines use electronic data processing technology (EDP)  Punch ballots, optical scanners, touch screen  There are concerns about the security of touch screen and other voting technology that does not produce a paper ballot, especially online voting  Voting by mail has become more popular in recent elections  Oregon has held all of its elections since 1998 by mail  There are concerns about security with mail in ballots as well Chapter 7, Section 2

9 Office-Group and Party-Column Ballots Chapter 7, Section 2 Split Ticket Ballots

10 The Cost of Campaigns

11 Sources of Funding Chapter 7, Section 3 Small contributors Wealthy supporters Nonparty groups such as PACs 527s: Fund- raising organizations Candidates Government subsidies Private and Public Sources of Campaign Money

12 Regulating Campaign Financing  The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) was passed in response to the Watergate scandal.  Created the Federal Election Commission to oversee campaign finance laws  timely disclosure of campaign finance information  the limits on campaign contributions  limits on campaign expenditures  provisions for public funding of presidential campaigns  Created a limit how much money a person could donate to a campaign – these contributions are called hard money

13 Political Action Committees  Federal law prohibited corporations and unions from making hard money contributions.  PACs were created to circumvent this restriction  FECA placed regulations on PACs  PACs can only donate $5000 per candidate/per election  Must file reports with the FEC  PACs usually give money to both candidates, but the incumbent almost always gets more. Chapter 7, Section 3

14 Loopholes in the Law  Buckley v. Valeo eliminated many of the restrictions placed on fundraising. For example, a candidate can spend as much of their own money on their campaign as they would like.  Soft money—money given to State and local party organizations for “party-building activities” that is filtered to presidential or congressional campaigns. $500 million was given to campaigns in this way in 2000.  Independent expenditures—a person/group unrelated and unconnected to a candidate or party can spend as much money as they want to benefit or work against candidates.  527s  Super PACs Chapter 7, Section 3

15 McCain-Feingold (2002)  In an effort to close some of the loopholes, Congress passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, better known as McCain- Feingold.  McCain-Feingold did the following:  Raised the hard money limit to $2000 (Currently $2600)  Eliminated soft money – contributions to parties are now limited to $32,400.  Placed severe restrictions on independent expenditures  For example, a television ad could not identify a candidate for federal office in ad run 30 days before a primary election or 60 days before a general election.  Prohibited corporations from running issue advocacy ads at all Chapter 7, Section 3

16 Citizens United v. FEC (2010)  In 2008, a conservative group called Citizens United was sponsoring an anti-Hilary Clinton documentary  Clinton campaign sued since the documentary was being broadcast 30 days before the Democratic primary (violated McCain-Feingold)  Case eventually made its way to the Supreme Court  The Court overturned McCain-Feingold’s restrictions on identification of federal candidates  The Court also ruled that corporations and unions could directly spend money on issue advocacy ads because of the 1 st Amendment protection of free speech Chapter 7, Section 3

17 The Rise of Super PACs  As a result of the Citizens United decision a new political fundraising entity was created – the Super PAC  Super PACs differed from regular PACs in that  There are no limits on how much an individuals or corporation can give to a Super PAC  Super PACs cannot donate directly to a candidate’s campaign. They can only engage in independent expenditures. Chapter 7, Section 3

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