Elections The election process is at the very heart of the democratic concept.
Extent of Federal Control <ul><li>Most election law in the United States is State – not federal- law.
BUT the Constitution states that Congress has the power to fix “the Times, Places and Manners of holding Elections” of members of Congress.
Congress has set the date for holding congressional elections as the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November of every even-numbered year. It has the same date every fourth year for presidential elections. </li></ul>
Help America Vote Act of 2002 <ul><li>Federal legislation that required states to: </li><ul><li>replace lever-operated and punchcard voting machines
upgrade the way elections were handled, especially better training of local officials and poll workers.
centralize and computerize voter registration system, to identify qualified voters quicker and cut down on fraudulent voting.
provide for provisional voting, a person will still get to vote even if their eligibility is challenged so their vote will count later. </li></ul></ul>
Why Tuesday-after-the-first-Monday? <ul><li>prevents election day from falling on Sundays (to maintain the principle of separation of church and state.)
prevents election day from falling on the first day of the month, which is often payday and therefore peculiarly subject to campaign pressures. </li></ul>
Early Voting <ul><li>Absentee voting – a process by which they could vote without actually going to their polling places on election day. </li><ul><li>was originally intended for the ill or disabled </li></ul></ul>
Coattail Effect <ul><li>Occurs when a strong candidate running for an office at the top of the ballot helps attract voters to other candidates on the party's ticket. “Rides the coattails” of the more prestigious personality. </li><ul><li>Examples include: In 1980 and 1984 Ronald Reagan's coattails helped many Republican candidates win office. </li></ul></ul>
Critics – threatens the principle of the secret ballot, worry about fraud.
Supporters – can be as fraud-proof as any other method of voting, increases voter turn-out in elections, reduces the cost of conducting them. </li></ul>
Online voting <ul><li>Casting ballots via the Internet.
Supporters – it will make participation much more convenient , increase voter turnout, and reduce the costs of conducting elections.
Critics – electronic infrastructure is not ready for e-voting, jammed phone lines, blocked access, hackers, viruses, denials of service attacks, fraudulent vote counts, and violations of voter secrecy. Not everyone can afford home computers. </li></ul>