General And Primary Election And Electoral College


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  • This could be revamped into a first class powerpoint for class instruction with a little work.
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  • The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causes unnecessary fires.

    Under the current system, there are 51 separate vote pools in every presidential election. Thus, our nation's 56 presidential elections have really been 2,135 separate elections. This is the reason why there have been five seriously disputed counts in the nation's 56 presidential elections. The 51 separate pools regularly create artificial crises in elections in which the vote is not at all close on a nationwide basis, but close in particular states.

    A recount is not an unimaginable horror or logistical impossibility. A recount is a recognized contingency that is occasionally required (about once in 332 elections). All states routinely make arrangements for a recount in advance of every election. The personnel and resources necessary to conduct a recount are indigenous to each state. A state's ability to conduct a recount inside its own borders is unrelated to whether or not a recount may be occurring in another state.

    If anyone is genuinely concerned about the possibility of recounts, then a single national pool of votes is the way to drastically reduce the likelihood of recounts and eliminate the artificial crises produced by the current system.
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  • If the National Popular Vote bill were to become law, it would not change the need for candidates to build a winning coalition across demographics. Any candidate who yielded, for example, the 21% of Americans who live in rural areas in favor of a 'big city' approach would not likely win the national popular vote. Candidates would still have to appeal to a broad range of demographics, and perhaps even more so, because the election wouldn't be capable of coming down to just one demographic, such as voters in Ohio.

    Based on historical evidence, there is far more fragmentation of the vote under the current state-by-state system of electing the President than in elections in which the winner is simply the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the jurisdiction involved.
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  • There have been 22,000 electoral votes cast since presidential elections became competitive (in 1796), and only 10 have been cast for someone other than the candidate nominated by the elector's own political party. The electors are dedicated party activists of the winning party who meet briefly in mid-December to cast their totally predictable votes in accordance with their pre-announced pledges.
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  • The current state-by-state winner-take-all system does not protect the two-party system. It simply discriminates against third-party candidates with broad-based support, while rewarding regional third-party candidates. In 1948, Strom Thurmond and Henry Wallace both got about 1.1 million popular votes, but Thurmond got 39 electoral votes (because his vote was concentrated in southern states), whereas Henry Wallace got none. Similarly, George Wallace got 46 electoral votes with 13% of the votes in 1968, while Ross Perot got 0 electoral votes with 19% of the national popular vote in 1992. The only thing the current system does is to punish candidates whose support is broadly based.
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General And Primary Election And Electoral College

  1. 1. Election and Campaigns
  2. 2. Changing Face of Campaigns <ul><li>Media </li></ul><ul><li>Money </li></ul><ul><li>Campaign management </li></ul><ul><li>Political strategist </li></ul><ul><li>Funding </li></ul><ul><li>Internet </li></ul>
  3. 3. Strategy to Win! <ul><li>Win the undecided voters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1/3 to 1/2 of the electorate is not committed to a party of candidate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on swing states </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negative advertisement? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Debates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Television </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internet </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Campaign Finance (amounts in millions) Clinton $42.5 Dole $44.9 All Others $160.9 (FEC) Bush $95.5 Gore $48.1 All Others $208.0 Bush $269.6 Kerry $234.6 All Others $169.7 1996 2000 2004
  5. 5. Elections <ul><li>Primary Elections: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nominate party’s candidate to compete in the General election </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CA in June </li></ul></ul><ul><li>General election: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Candidates for their party compete for vacant position </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Midterm elections is one type of general election: Vote for congress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Senate- 1/3 will run for re-election every 2 years </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>House- 435 will run on the even years between presidential elections (midterm elections) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>First Tues after first Mon in November on even years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Presidential Elections another type of general election </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>every 4 years from the last presidential election </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>First Tues after first Mon in November in years divisible by 4 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Regional Elections </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Non party affiliated positions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>School boards, city council, mayoral </li></ul></ul>
  6. 7. Is this the Electoral College?
  7. 8. Or is it this?
  8. 9. Opinions on the Electoral College <ul><li>“ archaic, undemocratic, complex, ambiguous, indirect, and dangerous.” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>American Bar Association </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 10. Electoral College <ul><li>Definition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Constitutionally designated method in selecting a president and vice president through electors. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 11. The Constitution <ul><li>Article II, Sec.1 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduction of the electoral college in 1787 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Procedures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Representative democracy: electors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Majoritarian democracy: Winner Takes All </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>State electors will send results to the pres. of the senate. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The pres. of the senate will certified results in presence of Congress. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Majority electoral votes rule </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 12. Changes to the Electoral College <ul><li>12 Amendment (1804) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The original Constitutional procedure resulted in a tie in 1800 btw Jefferson and Burr, the House awarded the presidency to Jefferson. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This amendment required the pres. and vp to be placed on 2 separate ballots. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 13. Changes to the Electoral College <ul><li>23 Amendment (1961) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The District of Columbia was given 3 electoral college votes. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 14. Electoral College Today <ul><li>Characteristics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When Americans vote, they are not voting for the actual candidate, but actually voting for a candidate’s electors. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Winner takes all. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>270 total electoral votes or more needed to win presidency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>435 (House Reps) + 100 (Senators)+ 3 (D.C. Reps)=538 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>538/2 = 269 + 1 more = 270 (majority) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Majority of electoral vote rule </li></ul></ul>
  14. 15. Electoral Votes Distribution N. Hampshire-4 Rhode Island-4 Alaska – 3 Delaware – 3 D.C. – 3 Montana – 3 North Dakota –3 South Dakota -3 Vermont – 3 Wyoming – 3 Kansas – 6 Mississippi – 6 Nebraska – 5 Nevada – 5 New Mexico -5 Utah – 5 West Virginia5 Hawaii – 4 Idaho – 4 Maine – 4 Alabama – 9 Colorado – 9 Louisiana – 9 Kentucky – 8 S. Carolina – 8 Connecticut – 7 Iowa – 7 Oklahoma – 7 Oregon – 7 Arkansas – 6 Virginia – 13 Mass-12 Indiana – 11 Missouri – 11 Tennessee – 11 Washington -11 Arizona – 10 Maryland – 10 Minnesota – 10 Wisconsin – 10 California – 55 Texas – 34 New York – 31 Florida – 27 Illinois – 21 Pennsylvania 21 Ohio – 20 Michigan – 17 Georgia – 15 New Jersey – 15 N. Carolina – 15
  15. 16. Electoral College <ul><li>Election time line </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First Mon in Nov. in the yrs divisible by 4, electors are chosen. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nov-First Tues after the first Mon in Nov. is election day. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dec-On Mon. following the 2 nd Weds of Dec., the winning electors meet in state capitals to cast their vote </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jan-Jan 6, results are sent to the pres. of the Senate for certification. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If no candidate receives 270, the House of Representatives (one vote per Rep) selects a President from the candidates . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jan- Pres. Is inaugurated on Jan. 20. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 17. Electoral College
  17. 18. Strengths and Weakness of the System <ul><li>Strengths </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cohesiveness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minority interests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Political stability of the two party system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Federalism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Republic tradition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Easier recounts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less incentive for fraud </li></ul></ul>
  18. 19. Strengths and Weakness of the System <ul><li>Weakness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“Faithless&quot; Electors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reducing voter turnout. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disadvantage to third parties. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minority President </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not representative </li></ul></ul>
  19. 20. Weakness: Representative?
  20. 21. Weakness: Minority Presidents <ul><li>The candidates who received a plurality of the popular vote did not become president. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1824 John Quincy Adams </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1876 Ruthford Hayes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1888 Benjamin Harrison </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2000 ? </li></ul></ul>
  21. 22. Weakness: Minority Presidents <ul><li>Elections of 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The candidates who received a plurality of the popular vote did not become president. </li></ul></ul>B-4 G-3.5 4 MI B-3 G-2.5 4 ID B-6 G-5 21 PN B-5 G-9 21 IL Pop. (mill) EC State
  22. 23. Case Study: 2000 Election <ul><li>Unprecedented Election </li></ul><ul><ul><li>5 weeks to resolve presidency dispute </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extended process of counting and then recounting of Florida </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Presidency based on Supreme Court decision </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many irregularities in Florida's election </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gore received 543,816 more popular votes than Bush, but lost the electoral college </li></ul></ul>
  23. 24. Case Study: 2000 Election <ul><li>Role of the Media in debacle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hour after polls closed TV networks, first called Florida for Gore. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hours later, after all of the polls closed the networks retracted and called the state for Bush. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Then later retracted that call as well. </li></ul></ul>
  24. 25. Case Study: 2000 Election <ul><li>Irregularities Florida </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Palm Beach &quot;butterfly ballot&quot;, produced an unexpectedly large number of votes for third-party candidate Patrick Buchanan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some 50,000 alleged felons from the Florida were turned away at the polls. </li></ul></ul>
  25. 26. Case Study: 2000 Election <ul><li>Florida debacle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Florida law provided for an automatic recount due to the small margins. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Four counties recounted by hand. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Florida law also requires certification and reports by 5 pm on Nov. 14. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Counties sued to extend the deadline. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bush’s counter suit to keep deadlines. </li></ul></ul>
  26. 27. Case Study: 2000 Election <ul><li>Florida debacle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimal standard: Bush won by 1,665 votes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Palm Beach standard: Bush won by 884 votes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Two-corner standard: Bush won by 363 votes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strict standard: Gore won by 3 votes. </li></ul></ul>
  27. 28. Case Study: 2000 Election
  28. 29. Case Study: 2000 Election
  29. 30. Case Study: 2000 Election <ul><li>Election Results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Official Florida count gave the victory to Bush by 537 votes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This is the tightest race of the campaign (at least in percentage terms by 0.009%. </li></ul></ul>
  30. 31. 2000 Election Final Results 0 0 1.0 1,039,754 Others 0 0 2.7 2,882,728 Ralph Nader 49.3 266 48.4 50,994,086 Albert Gore 50.46 271 47.9 50,461,092 George Bush % Electoral College % Popular Votes 2000
  31. 32. Post 2000 Election <ul><li>Reform </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hilary Clinton talked about abolishing the electoral college. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Passage of the Help America Vote Act. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>US fed govt to provide funds to replace manual to electronic voting. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maine-Nebraska method </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>guarantees two electoral votes to majority winner, and second place candidate receives one electoral vote. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  32. 33. Quiz <ul><li>Should the electoral college be maintained or eliminated? </li></ul>
  33. 34. Campaign Finance Reform <ul><li>1974 Revamped Federal Election Campaign Act </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contribution Limits: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public Financing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spending Limits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disclosure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Federal Election Commission </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2002 McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Act </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Limits on the acceptance and use of soft money </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A ban on “non-partisan” issue ads funded by soft money from corporations and labor unions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal limits on hard money raised </li></ul></ul>