The Right to Vote Suffrage Franchise Electorate
Chapter 6 Voters and Voter Behavior History of Voting Rights Expansion of the Electorate 205 Million eligible voters Benjamin Franklin often lampooned this situation. He told of a man whose only property was a jackass and noted that the man would lose the right to vote if his jackass dies. “Now,” asked Franklin, “in whom is the right of suffrage? In the man or the Jackass?”
Extending Suffrage Religious Qualifications Property Qualifications Direct election of Senators 15 th Amendment – Civil War Amendments 1920 - Gender – 19 th Amendment 1960’s - Enforcement of Voting Rights acts 1961 - 23 rd Amendment – District of Columbia added to Presidential electorate 1964 - 24 th Amendment – eliminated the poll tax 1971 - 26 th Amendment – 18 year olds
Voting Qualifications State defined with minimum Federal reg. Universal Requirements Citizenship Must be a U.S. Citizen Residence To prevent out of state residents from disrupting state politics (Kansas) Age Cannot be prevented if 18 – may be allowed if younger – 17 year olds voting in primaries
Other Qualifications Registration All States except North Dakota Literacy Not a requirement Grandfather Clause Tax Payment 24 th Amendment – outlawed poll tax Persons Denied right to Vote Mental institutions – Convicts – Dishonorably discharged from military (not all States)
Fifteenth Amendment Registration Laws Jim Crow laws – continued to prevent blacks from voting Gerrymandering The practice of drawing electoral district lines in order to limit the voting strength of a particular party or group.
Civil Rights Act of 1964 Outlaws discrimination in several areas, especially in job-related matters. Forbids the use of any voter registration or literacy requirements in an unfair or discriminatory manner.
Voting Rights Act of 1965 Made the 15 th Amendment a truly effective part of the Constitution. This act applied to all elections held anywhere in this country – State and local, as well as federal.
Preclearance (p. 162) That no new election laws, and no changes in existing election laws, could go into effect in any of those States unless first approved – given preclearance – by the Department of Justice. Examples: Location of polling places The boundaries of election districts Deadlines in the election process Changes from ward or district election to at-large elections Qualifications candidates must meet in order to run for office
Voter Behavior Nonvoters Idiots – Greek word for non-voter Why People Do Not Vote Cannot-Voters Religious beliefs Mental health care Jail
Actual Non-Voters In 2000 – 80 million who could have voted did not. Factors Affecting Turnout Satisfied, Apathy, Inconvenient, registration requirements, long ballots, long lines, Bad weather Time zone fallout Lack of interest
Voters and Voting Behavior How and Why do people vote the way they do? It is predictable?