Unit 4 voting


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Visuals for my students for the unit on Voting and Voter Behavior in America

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Unit 4 voting

  1. 1. • The Framers of the Constitution purposely left the power to set suffrage qualifications to each State.
  2. 2. • Both of these terms have the same meaning: –The RIGHT or PRIVILEGE to vote.
  3. 3. • When the Constitution went into effect in 1789, who was allowed to vote? –White, male, property owners
  4. 4. • Today the size of the American electorate (potential voting population) is around 210 million people • Who is allowed to vote today? – Nearly all citizens who are at least 18 years old.
  5. 5. • That big number is a result of some 200 years of continuing, often bitter and sometimes violent struggle. • The history of suffrage has been marked by (2) long-term trends: 1. The gradual elimination of restrictions on the right to vote 2. The State’s power over the right to vote has been assumed by the Federal government.
  6. 6. • The growth of the American electorate to its present size and shape has come in five fairly distinct stages:
  7. 7. • When: –Early 1800s • What: –Elimination of religious, property, and tax requirements.
  8. 8. • When: –Post Civil-War Era. • What: – Race or color could not block right to vote. – 15th Amendment.
  9. 9. • When: –1920 • What: –Women get the right to vote in Federal elections. –19th Amendment
  10. 10. • When: –1960s • What: – 23rd Amendment allows District of Columbia to vote in presidential election – 24th Amendment – No poll tax – Voting Rights Act 1965
  11. 11. • When: –1971 • What: –Minimum age of voting can be no higher than 18 years old.
  12. 12. • Today, every state requires that any person who wants to vote must be able to satisfy qualifications based on (3) factors:
  13. 13. • Aliens (foreign born residents who have not become citizens) are denied the right to vote. • States have power to regulate this. • Pennsylvania? – Citizen for 30 days – Resident of PA for 30 days
  14. 14. • Why is there a residency requirement? 1. Political Machines cannot bring voters in from different areas. 2. New voters can become familiar with candidates and issues of an area.
  15. 15. • Transients: –persons living in a State for only a short time; are prohibited from voting in nearly every state.
  16. 16. • 26th Amendment (1971) set the minimum age for voting in any election at no more than 18. • Vietnam War was key. • What is the impact of 18-20 years olds in voting? – NONE: they have the lowest percentage of all voting groups..
  17. 17. • The States have imposed a number of other qualifications over time. 1. 2. 3. 4. Registration Literacy Tax Payment Persons Denied the Vote
  18. 18. • Procedure of voter identification intended to prevent fraudulent voting. • A prospective voter must register his/her name, age, place of birth, present address, length of residence, and similar facts. • What is purging? – Reviewing the lists of registered voters and removing the names of the ineligible.
  19. 19. • Some people argue that the registration requirement is bar to voter turnout, especially among the poor and lesseducated.
  20. 20. • In 1993 Congress passed a law dubbed “the Motor- Voter Law”. • What did this do? 1. Register by mail 2. Register when applying/renewing driver’s license.
  21. 21. • Today no state has a suffrage qualification based on voter literacy – a persons ability to read or write. • States had these in place to keep a group away from the polls – African Americans, Native American, Irish Catholic immigrants.
  22. 22. • What eliminated all of these requirements? –Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1970
  23. 23. • Poll tax = payment of a tax in order to vote. • Beginning with Florida in 1889, each of the 11 southern states enacted this to keep AfricanAmericans away from the polls.
  24. 24. • The Amendment to the Constitution ended this in 1964. th 24
  25. 25. • Some states deny the right to vote to certain persons: – People in mental institutions. – Persons found legally incompetent. – Persons convicted of serious crimes.
  26. 26. • First step in the effort to extend the franchise to African Americans. • What does it declare….
  27. 27. • Right to vote cannot be denied because of race, color or previous condition of servitude.
  28. 28. • Yet for almost 90 years (1870-1960), the Federal government paid little attention to voting rights for African Americans. • During this period, blacks were kept from the polls by a mix of violence, literacy tests, poll taxes and other devices:
  29. 29. • Definition: –Drawing district lines to limit or strengthen the voting power of a particular group.
  30. 30. • Definition: – Practice that excluded blacks from running for office; used in the South. – Eventually ruled unconstitutional.
  31. 31. • Allowed for Federal voting referees to help voters register or vote.
  32. 32. • This Act was much broader and more effective than either two of the earlier measures. • Outlawed discrimination in several areas – especially job related matters. • It relied on judicial action to overcome racial barriers.
  33. 33. • Definition: –A court order that either forces or limits an action by a person.
  34. 34. • Voter registration march in Selma, Alabama were met with violence showing a need for new and stronger legislation. • What played a role in getting the nation’s attention? – The violence shown on national TV.
  35. 35. • This act applied to ALL elections held anywhere in this country – state and local as well as federal. • Originally, the Act was to be in effect for 5 years but Congress has extended its life three times.
  36. 36. 1. Suspended us of literacy tests. 2. Gave Federal government power to oversee elections.
  37. 37. • Changes that must be approved: – Location of polling places – Boundaries of districts – Deadlines in election process – Qualifications of candidates
  38. 38. • Additions to the law include: – extensions for existing provisions – help for language minorities (ballots in several languages)
  39. 39. • There are several legitimate reasons for not voting… • But the troubling fact remains that most of the millions who do not vote cannot claim those reasons.
  40. 40. • Case in point Election Day 2000: – those eligible to vote (205.8 million) and 105.4 million did vote (51.2%) – How many people did not vote at all? • Nearly 100 million people!!!
  41. 41. • Off-year elections, which are the congressional elections in between a President’s term, have even lower rates of voter turnout. • What does it mean to be a “nonvoting voter”? – Vote for candidates at top of ballot, but no other offices.
  42. 42. • One reason for nonvoting is “ballot fatigue” – many voters get exhaust their patience and/or knowledge as they work they way down the ballot.
  43. 43. • There are any number of reasons for not voting: – Belief that it makes no difference who wins. – Others are satisfied with the political world as they it.
  44. 44. • Define – People who lack any feeling of influence or effectiveness in politics. • Why do people have it? – They believe they have no impact on what the government does.
  45. 45. • Cumbersome election procedures (registration, long lines and ballots) • Bad weather can also effect turnout.
  46. 46. • Time-Zone Fallout – polls on East Coast close before other time-zones – Announcing East Coast results might discourage West Coast voters.
  47. 47. • A simple factor is, purely and simply, a lack of interest!
  48. 48. • Voters and Nonvoters. • One useful way to get a handle on the problem of nonvoting is to contrast those who go to the polls regularly and those who do not…
  49. 49. • High level of income, education and job status. • Strong sense of party identification. • Long time residents who are active in their community. • Unmarried, unskilled and under the age of 35. • Live in rural areas of country. • Women vote more than men.
  50. 50. • Voting has been studied more closely than any other form of political participation. • Why is this? The importance of the topic and the great amount of data available.
  51. 51. • Most of what is known about voter behavior comes from (3) sources: The Results of Particular elections The Field of Survey Research • Studying the returns from areas populated with a specific group will indicate how they voted. • Scientific polling of public opinion can determine voter outcome. Studies of Political • This involves studying experiences Socialization and relationships in people’s lives
  52. 52. • Sociology is the study of groups and how people behave within groups.
  53. 53. • Lower income tend to be Democrat, higher income Republicans. • Occupations : – professionals, business people tend to vote Republican – manual labor, union workers tend to vote Democrat.
  54. 54. • College grads vote for Republicans in higher percentages than do high school grads; High school grads vote GOP more than grade school grads.
  55. 55. • The Gender Gap in politics: – Women tend to favor Democrats by 5-10%, and men tend to favor Republicans by the same amount.
  56. 56. • Historically, a majority of Protestants have voted Republican. • Social issues are key to most Protestants voters.
  57. 57. • Traditional, have voted Democrat. • Immigration in early 1900s. • Recent trend is that they are swing voters: – 2004 52% for Bush – 2008 58% for Obama
  58. 58. • Traditionally have always voted Democrat. • Immigration in early 1900s. • Recent trend: – 2004 75% for Bush – 2008 79% for Obama
  59. 59. • For decades, African Americans have supported the Democratic Party consistently and massively. • 95% in 2008
  60. 60. • Do not vote as a block • Cuban-Americans: – Tend to vote Republican • Mexicans and Puerto Ricans: – Tend to vote Democrat
  61. 61. • The part of the country in which a person lives has an impact on voting. • Solid South: – Starting with the end of the Civil War, the South voted solidly Democrat for over 100 years.
  62. 62. • Married couples and family members tend to vote the same way. • What is the role of parents? – 2 of 3 voters follow the political attachments of their parents
  63. 63. • Psychology is the study of the mind and of individual behavior.
  64. 64. • A majority of Americans identify with one of the major parties – and many NEVER change. • This is the SINGLE most significant predictor of how a person will vote.
  65. 65. • Straight Ticket : – Voting of candidates of ONLY one party • Split Ticket: – Voting for candidates of MORE than one party
  66. 66. • Term used for people with no party affiliation. • New breed of: – Often young and above average in education, income and job status.
  67. 67. • Candidates: – An impression a candidate makes on a voter can cause a switch in party • Issues: – An important issue can cause a switch in party for a voter.