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Chapter 7:  Electoral Process
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Chapter 7: Electoral Process



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  • 1. Chapter 7: The Electoral Process
    • Section 1: The Nominating Process
  • 2. A Critical First Step
    • NOMINATION is the naming of those who will seek office and is critically important.
    • General Elections -
        • REGULARLY scheduled elections at which voters make the final selection of officeholders
  • 3. 5 ways they are made
    • SELF ANNOUNCEMENT - oldest form of the nominating process. A person who wants to run simply announces their intentions. Usually used by someone who failed to win a regular party nomination.
  • 4.
    • The Caucus - A CAUCUS is a group of like-minded people who meet to select the candidates they will support in an upcoming election.
    • The Convention
        • Party members meet in a local caucus to pick candidates for office. Big party where they decide on a candidate.
  • 5.
    • DIRECT PRIMARY - is an intra-party election. It is held within a party to pick that party’s candidates for the general election. Law closely regulates them.
  • 6.
    • Closed Primary -
        • 27 states and D.C. party nominating election in which only declared party members can vote. Party membership is established by registration
    • Open Primary
        • any qualified voter can take part only in 23 states. They ask for the ballot of the party that they want to participate in.
    • Blanket Primary
  • 7.
    • Blanket Primary -
        • Lists every candidate regardless of party. Voters may participate how they choose.
  • 8.
    • Arguments favoring closed primaries
        • It prevents one party from raiding the others
        • It helps make candidates more responsive to the party, platform and members
        • It helps make voters more thoughtful because they have to pick a party
  • 9.
    • Arguments favoring OPEN PRIMARIES
        • Voters do not have to make their party preferences known in public
        • Does not exclude independents as much.
  • 10.
    • Runoff Primary -
        • if no one wins a majority in a race a runoff primary is held. Top two vote getters participate
    • Non partisan primary
        • elections in which candidates are not identified by party labels
  • 11.
    • Petition
        • Candidates for public office are nominated by means of petitions signed by a certain required number of qualified votes in the election district. Found most widely on the local level, chiefly for nonpartisan school posts and municipal offices.
  • 12.
    • Administration of Elections -
        • Extent of federal control -
            • most election law is state, not federal, law but there is a body of federal election law. Example restrictions: time, place, manner, required secret ballots, and use of voting machine restrictions.
    Section 2: Elections
  • 13.
    • WHEN ELECTIONS ARE HELD - most states hold their elections to fill State offices on the same date Congress has set for national elections. In NOVEMBER of every even-numbered year. Usually the “Tuesday after the first Monday”
        • Virginia, though, elects State officials in November of odd-numbered years
        • City and county elections vary from state to state
  • 14.
    • Early Voting
        • Absentee
        • Voting by those unable to get to their regular polling places on election day. 1. ill or disabled 2. those away (business trip, college) 3. those in the armed forces
  • 15.
    • Coattail Effect
        • A strong candidate running for an office at the top of the ballot helps attract voters to other candidates on the party’s ticket.
  • 16.
    • Precinct -
        • voting district, state laws restrict their size to 500-1,000 qualified voters
        • the place where the voters who live in a precinct actually vote
  • 17.
    • BALLOT - a device by which a voter registers choice in an election
    • Australian Ballot -
        • printed at public expense, lists the names of all candidates in an election, given out only at the polls, one to each person, and it is marked in secret
    Casting the Ballot
  • 18.
    • Office Group Ballot
        • original form of Australian ballot. Candidates for office are grouped together under the title of the office
    • Party Column Ballot
        • lists each party’s candidates in a column under the party’s name. Encourages straight ticket voting
  • 19.
    • Sample Ballots
        • practice. help voters prepare for election
    • Bed Sheet Ballots
        • frequently lists so many offices, candidates and ballot measures that even the most well-informed voters have a difficult time marking it intelligently, longest are found at the local level
  • 20.
    • Voting machines and innovations
        • pulling a lever, the voter enclouses himself or herself within a three sided curtain, and the machine itself becomes the fourth side of the voting booth
  • 21.
    • Electronic Vote Counting -
    • first applied in the 1960s. Punch card counted by computers
    • Vote by Mail Elections -
    • mail ballots back, get them in mail, confined to the local level because they are controversial
  • 22.
    • e-voting, or casting ballots on the Internet will likely become widespread, perhaps even commonplace, in the next few years or so. Many people fear a digital “disaster.”
  • 23.
    • Two sources of funding...public and private
    • Small Contributors - $5 to $10. This is 10% of voting aged people
    • Wealthy individuals
    • Candidates - incumbents and challengers
        • Ross Perot spent 65 million out of pocket
  • 24.
    • Various non-party groups, such as PACs
    • Temporary organizations, groups developed for the short term pupose of campaign fund raising
    • Benefits
    • Subsidy - a grant of money, from the federal or state treasuries
  • 25.
    • Regulations are found in detailed laws
        • Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA)
        • FECA Amendments
        • Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002
  • 26. FEC
    • Federal Election Commission administers all federal law dealing with campaign finance
    • Established in 1974 as an independent agency in the executive branch.
  • 27.
    • What they do...make sure you have..
        • timely disclosure of campaign finance data
  • 28.
    • Place limits on contributions
        • an individual can give no more than $2,000 to a single, federal candidate.
        • No person can give more than $2,000 to a federal candidates general election campaign
        • A person can give no more than $5,000 to a PAC
  • 29.
    • A person can give no more than $25,000 to a national party committee
    • Total contributions can be no more than $95,000 in an election cycle
  • 30.
    • Place limits on campaign expenditures
    • Provide public funding (subsidies) for several parts of the presidential election process
  • 31.
    • Hard money
        • money raised and spend to elect candidates for Congress and the White House
    • Soft money
        • funds given to party organizations for such “party building activities” as candidate recruitment, voter registration get out the vote drives
  • 32.
    • BiPartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 - McCain Feingold Bill -
        • aimed at the soft money problem. Bans soft money contributions to political parties, in particular, to their national and congressional campaign committees
  • 33.
    • Political Action Committees
        • There are 4,000 PACs registered
        • Distribute money to those candidates who
            • are sympathetic to its goals
            • have a reasonable chance of winning
        • No PAC can give more than $5,000 to any one federal candidate in an election, or $10,000 per election cycle
  • 34.
    • There is no overall limit on PAC giving to candidates (they can give how ever many candidates they want $5,000 each)
    • Can contribute up to $15,000 a year to a political party
    • PACs put an estimated $400 million into the presidential and congressional campaigns in 2000