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Chapter 6 Voters and Voter Behavior. Because the Framers of the Constitution disagreed on specific requirements, they left the power to set voting requirements.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 6 Voters and Voter Behavior. Because the Framers of the Constitution disagreed on specific requirements, they left the power to set voting requirements."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 6 Voters and Voter Behavior

2 Because the Framers of the Constitution disagreed on specific requirements, they left the power to set voting requirements to the states. When the Constitution went into effect in 1789, the right to vote was limited to White Male property owners. Electorate-Definition-the potential voting population

3 The development of suffrage since 1789 has been marked by 2 trends: 1.) The gradual elimination of a number of restrictions on the right to vote. The growth of the American electorate has been in 5 stages: A. The elimination of religious qualifications-No state has had a religious requirement since 1810. B. The 15th Amendment following the Civil War, was intended to protect any citizen from being denied the right to vote because of race or color. It was NOT effective, and African Americans would remain the largest group of disfranchised citizens in the United States for almost 100 years following the passing of the 15th Amendment.

4 C. The 19th Amendment- passed in 1920, prohibited the denial of the right to vote because of sex. Wyoming gave women the right to vote in 1869, while it was still a territory in the U.S.. D. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other civil rights passed in the 60s, centered on securing suffrage to African Americans in the United States. The 24th Amendment eliminated the poll tax and any other tax, as a condition of voting. E. 26th Amendment-passed in 1971, provides that no State can set the voting age above 18. Prior to this, the age was 21.

5 2. A significant share of the State's powers over the right to vote has been assumed by the federal government. Section 2-Voter Qualifications Each state requires all voters to meet qualifications based on at least one of two factors: Citizenship and Residence. Most states require that a person live within the state for at least some period of time in order to qualify to vote. Among the 50 states, nearly 1/2 now require voters to have lived in the states for at least 30 days before they can vote. The Voting Rights Act Amendment of 1970-Congress prohibited any requirement of longer than 30 days for voting in Presidential elections.

6 In Dunn v Blumstein, the US Supreme Court found Tennessee's requirement for residence prior to an election to be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court said that 30 days was ample time for residence prior to an election. Other Qualifications for Suffrage: 1. Registration-every state except for North Dakota requires that most or all voters be registered to vote. Registration-Definition-a procedure of voter identification, intended to prevent fraudulent voting. Most states have eased the registration process over the last several years, in 1993, Congress passed the Motor Voter Law.

7 The Motor Voter Law directs every state to do 3 things: A. allow eligible citizens to register at the same time they apply for, or renew a drivers license. B. provide for voter registration by mail C. make forms available at local government offices 2. Literacy-definition-a person's ability to read or write. Today, NO state has a suffrage qualification based on voter literacy. Literacy as a voting qualification, was A. supposed to be used to make sure that voters cast an informed ballot B. But, it was used in many places to discourage African Americans from being able to vote.

8 At the time Congress banned literacy test, 18 states had some form of literacy requirement. 3. Poll Tax- definition-a tax payment required by some states before a person is allowed to vote. The 24th Amendment outlawed the poll tax, or any other tax, as a condition for voting. The Supreme Court outlawed the poll tax as a requirement for voting in any election in Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections. Who cannot vote? No state allows people in mental institutions, or people who have been declared insane;

9 Almost all states don't allow those convicted of serious crimes; a few states don't allow dishonorably discharged from the service, the homeless, etc.. Section 3 Suffrage and Civil Rights The 15th Amendment was plainly intended to ensure that African American men could vote. But, the 15th Amendment was not self- executing. For Almost 90 years, the federal government did little to ensure the voting rights of African Americans.

10 Several methods were employed to keep African Americans from the polls: 1.) white supremacist employed a number of methods-their major weapon was violence. Some methods were legal: 2.) literacy tests 3.) poll taxes 4.) registration of voters Gerrymandering-definition-the practice of drawing the lines of electoral districts in order to limit the voting strength of a particular group or party.

11 Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960 The Civil Rights Act of 1957-set up the United States Civil Rights Commission. One of its major duties was to inquire into all claims of voter discrimination. It established the power of injunctions-federal court orders-to the Attorney General to prevent voter interference. The Civil Rights Act of 1960 provided for voting referees-people who go to work in areas where a federal court found voter discrimination. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and its Amendments applies to all elections held anywhere, not just federal elections. It eliminated the poll tax in all elections. The amendments passed included a section on minority voters.

12 It states that election materials must be printed in both English and the language of the minority, in any community that has a minority-language population of more than 10,000 or more persons. Section 4- Voter Behavior- 1992, barely 55% of the people eligible (of the correct voting age, etc.) to vote in the Presidential election, voted. In 2000, only 51.2% of those eligible to vote participated. In the 2008 election, 54% of registered voters cast a ballot in the election. 60% of voters between the ages of 18-24 supported Barack Obama. Nonvoting voters-people who vote one section of the ballot, but not the rest. Example: voting for President, but not voting for a member of Congress on the same ballot. Ballot fatigue-voting for candidates on the top portion of a ballot, but not voting for candidates or issues on the bottom half of the ballot.

13 Why people do Not vote: Cannot voters-people who can vote, but don't due to illness, etc. Non-voters-are individuals that could have voted in an election, but decided not to. political efficacy-sense that you have influence or effectiveness in the workings of government. The chief cause of NONVOTING is simply a lack of interest and voter apathy. The people most likely to vote display characteristics such as: 1. higher income 2. education 3. occupational status They are usually well integrated into the community. There are more nonvoters in the South and rural locales. People with a high political efficacy are likely to vote no matter what their socio- economic status.

14 Most of what is known about voter behavior comes from 3 sources: 1. results from particular elections 2. field or survey research 3. studies on political socialization-definition-the process by which people gain their political attitudes and opinions. Sociological and psychological factors influence voter behavior. Sociological factors: a. income/occupation b. education c. gender/age d. religious/ethnic background e. geography f. family/group affiliations

15 The main Psychological factor that influences voting behavior: party identification- definition- loyalty of a person to their party. People feel they are a part, and this gives a feeling of loyalty. Straight ticket voting-definition -the practice of voting for candidates of but one party in an election. Party identification has lost some of its impact in recent years. split-ticket voting for candidates of different parties during the same election. independents-definition-voters who claim no party affiliation.

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