Elections AP Government Unit 5
The Functions of Elections • Elections serve • to legitimize governments • to fill public offices and organize governments • to allow people with different views and policy agendas to come to power • to ensure that the government remains accountable to the people.
The Functions of Elections • Most political change in the United States comes about because of elections. • Elections generally have allowed us to avoid: • Riots • General strikes • Coups d'etats
Why Don’t Americans Vote? • Long and complex ballots • Confusing to voters (I) • People are poorly informed • Disaffection • Elections are determined by money and special interest support • Loss of trust in government • Alienation • Legal barriers (I) • Some groups were not allowed to vote • Today: Photo ID Rules (I) • Through the 15th, 19th, 23rd, 24th, and 26thAmendments fixed many legal barriers I-Institutional Barriers that are governmental in nature or Constitution-based
Why Don’t Americans Vote? 5. Other Legal Requirements • Age Requirements (I) • Citizenship Requirements (I) • Because many elections are not close and some voters feel it’s not necessary • The population has a greater percentage of young people and minorities who are less likely to vote. • Political parties do not mobilize voters; to many they are distant national bureaucracies. • Some states still do not have easy universal voter registration. (I) • Voting itself still requires effort (cost) without any cost for nonvoting.
Young People • In 2004, 20.1 million 18-29 year-olds voted, a 4.3 million jump over 2000. • The turnout increase among the youngest voters was more than double that of any other age group. • In 2006, 18-29 year-olds’ turnout grew by nearly 2 million over 2002 levels. • Turnout among the youngest voters grew by 3 percentage points over 2002 levels, twice the turnout increase of older voters. • In 2008, 18-29 year-olds turnout grew to almost 50%!
Registering To Vote • Voter Registration • A system adopted by the states that requires voters to register in advance • Motor Voter Act • Requires states to permit people to register to vote when the apply for their driver’s license. • Millions added to electorate but the election outcomes were not affected
Efforts to Lower Costs Voting • Same day registration • Easing of registration regulations • No picture ID required in most states • Show many forms of ID • Expansion of ballot access • absentee or mail balloting • Early voting (GA) • other mechanisms (internet)??
Same Day Registration • Produces higher turnout • At least 30% of American adults change their home address every 2 years --- and hence must re-register!
The Political Consequences of Turnout • Do fewer voters help Republicans or Democrats? • Who usually wins elections- challengers or incumbents? • Who does higher turnout help the incumbent OR the challenger?
The Political Consequences of Turnout • Do fewer voters help Republicans or Democrats? • Usually Republicans • But increasing categories of voters can make a difference in either party • Who usually wins elections- challengers or incumbents? • Incumbents (90%+ in House and 70%+ in Senate) • Who does higher turnout help the incumbent OR the challenger? • Generally helps the challenger but incumbents usually still win
Do we vote for the Candidate or the Campaign? • Today, most people vote for a candidate not the campaign • He/she is even more important than money • Campaigns are able (most of the time) to downplay a candidate’s weaknesses and emphasize his/her strengths. • However, even the best campaigns cannot put an ineffective candidate in the win column – most of the time
Seven Types of Elections • Caucus • Primary Elections • General Elections • Initiatives • Referendums • Recall elections • Run-off elections
Caucus • A caucus is when a political party gathers to make policy decisions and to select candidates. • Straw ballots or nonbinding elections may take place in a caucus
The Iowa Caucus • The Iowa Caucus is the most important because it is first • As a result, Iowa garners a vastly disproportionate number of candidate visits and amount of media attention. • A better than expected showing on caucus night can boost a candidacy, while a poor performance can spell the end of a candidate's hopes.
Primary Elections • Primary elections select party nominees for the general election • Held on different days in different states • Most states force voters to vote in only one primary (Dem or Rep) • Primaries are run by the parties for the benefit of the parties • In one-party states, the primary election IS the only election that matters
New Hampshire • The Most Important Primary is held in NH • The major testing ground for candidates for the Republican and Democratic nominations. • Most important because it is FIRST • Attracts the most attention of the press corps • Candidates who do poorly usually have to drop out. • Little known, under funded candidates who do well suddenly become contenders, as they gain huge amounts of media attention and money • Some candidates spend 8-12 months there BEFORE the election
Primary elections: different types • Open primaries • You can enter the voting booth and then decide on the party primary in which you will vote • Closed primaries • You must reveal your party OR be a registered member of that party to vote • Blanket (or love) Primaries • In blanket primaries voters may choose from both party ballots in a primary • For instance, a voter might select a Democrat for governor and a Republican for senator. • California’s blanket primary was struck down as unconstitutional in 2001
General Elections • In general elections we elect office holders • Three types of general elections • Off-year elections (2011, 2013, 2015..) • Generally odd years. Include mayoral races, school boards, etc.. • Presidential election years (2000-2004-2008-2012) • Party nominated candidates and independents • First Tuesday after the first Monday in November • Midterm elections(2002-2006-2010) • General election but no presidential race • Still first Tuesday after the first Monday in November • Both party-nominated candidates and independents but fewer voters
General Election Turnout • Voter turnout is the highest for general elections • In presidential years, the general election turnout is the highest • In midterm elections, general election turnout decreases in most states
Initiatives • Initiatives allow citizens to propose legislation and submit it to popular vote. • Popular in California and western states • Initiative85 - Parental Notification before Termination of Teen's Pregnancy • Initiative 86 - Increase on Cigarette Tax • Initiative87 - Funding for alternative forms of energy • Initiative88 - Property Parcel Tax to fund for Education
Referendum • A referendum allows the legislature to submit proposed legislation for popular approval. • Special elections on certain topics or issues • State voters approve or disapprove proposed legislation. • Often used for constitutional amendments • The Georgia Legislature recently sponsored the “Marriage Amendment” • It passed with overwhelming support
Recall Elections • Recall elections allow citizens to remove someone from office. • Voters decide whether or not to vote out an official • California recalled Governor Gray Davis and elected Arnold Schwarzenegger • The“Governator”
Runoff Elections • A voting system used to elect a single winner, whereby only two candidates from the first round continue to the second round • Runoff elections allow citizens to pick from the top two vote candidates AFTER a primary or general election. • Georgia allows run-offs. • Many other states do not.
Instant Runoff • Instant Runoffs allows ballot to be recounted if no candidate wins a majority. • Voters rank all the candidates (1-2-3…) • Also known as the “Transferable Vote System”
Yellow Dog Democrat • A Yellow Dog Democrat is a staunch loyalist to the Democratic Party. • The term, Yellow Dog Democrat, first occurred in the 1928 elections, when Al Smith ran for President against Herbert Hoover. • Southerners hated Hoover, hence, the popular saying, "I'd vote for a yellow dog if he ran on the Democratic ticket" was born!
Blue Dog Democrats • The fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition was formed in 1995 with the goal of representing the center of the House of Representatives and appealing to the mainstream values of the American public. • The Blue Dogs are dedicated to a core set of beliefs that transcend partisan politics, including a deep commitment to the financial stability and national security of the United States. • Currently there are 52 members of the Blue Dog Coalition. • A blue dog is the mascot because when dogs are not let into the house, they stay outside in the cold and turn blue
The Electoral College • Framers wanted president chosen by the elite of the country • The Electoral College was established • Winner-Take-All system gives bigger emphasis to more populated states • Except for NE and ME which use a divided elector system • State parties choose the electors • Electors are usually party elite
The Electoral College • How it works: • Each state has as many votes as it does Representatives and Senators. • Winner of popular vote typically gets ALL the Electoral College votes. • Except for NE and ME which divide electoral votes • Electors meet in December, votes are reported by the vice president in January. • If no candidate gets 270 votes (a majority), the House of Representatives votes for president, with each state getting ONE vote.
Should We Change the Current Electoral System? Use Popular Vote Instead of E. College Alter Current System • Divide electoral votes within states • Use popular vote as secondary check Alternative Voting Systems • Plurality voting system • Hare System (Similar to Transferable Vote System but with different rounds) • The Borda Count • Sequential Pair-Wise Voting
Voting System #1 Plurality A common method of voting is called plurality. In this system, each person casts one vote for a choice and the option with the option with the most votes wins. Voting System #2 The Hare System (Similar to Transferable Vote System) This method involves taking an initial poll in which each person casts one vote for his or her favorite option. The option receiving the least number of first place votes is eliminated, and then another poll is taken. Those who originally voted for the eliminated option vote for their second choice. Continually eliminate the least popular option until a single winner emerges. Alternative Voting Systems
Voting System #3- The Borda Count This is a voting method that takes into account each voter’s first, second, and third choices. Each first-choice vote is awarded two points, each second choice vote is awarded one point, and no point is awarded for a third choice. This way, each choice is assigned a point-value. Example: For Al Gore has seventeen first-choice votes and five second-choice votes, for a total of 2(17) + 1(15) = 39 points. Voting System #4 Sequential Pair-Wise Voting This method involves a sequence of head-to-head contests. First, the group votes on any one of two of the options and then the preferred option is matched with the next option, while the ‘loser’ is eliminated. Continue eliminating the less popular option of a pairing, until one remains. Alternative Voting Systems
From George Washington’s Farewell Address • As he addressed Congress and his administration he warned about the dangers of political parties • “…the spirit of Party are sufficient to make it the interest and the duty of a wise People to discourage and restrain it.”
Thanks but “NO THANKS” George • Political Parties immediately formed • And the rest is history!! • 1800 • Federalists v Anti-Federalists • Big Government v Small Government • Hamilton v Jefferson
Four instances in which winner of the popular vote didn’t get the presidency: • 1824: House selects John Quincy Adams (loser: Andrew Jackson) • 1876: Samuel Tilden wins popular vote, Rutherford Hayes wins presidency. • 1888: Benjamin Harrison edged in popular vote by Grover Cleveland, but Harrison wins in electoral college. • 2000: Gore wins popular vote, Bush takes presidency after US Supreme Court decides Florida dispute.
Important Elections to Know *Critical/Realigning Elections on Test **Important Midterm Election on Test • 1800* • 1828* • 1860* • 1896* • 1932* • 1952 • 1960 • 1964 • 1968 • 1972 • 1976 • Who ran? • Who won? • Why did they win? • Who voted for them? • Where did they live? • What party? • What were their political beliefs? • 1980 • 1984 • 1988 • 1992 • 1994** • 1996 • 2000 • 2004 • 2006** • 2008 • 2010**
Party Realignment/Critical Elections • Occurs when a new voting coalition appears in an election year • Often after a long period of little party change • These are calledcritical or realigningelections • 1800 (Republican Democrats) • 1828 (Jacksonian Democrats) • 1860 (Republicans- abolitionists) • 1896 (Democrats-Populists and farmers; Republicans-City and business interests) • 1932 (New Deal Coalition Democrats)
Election of 1800* • Thomas Jefferson (RD) • (Republican Democrats) • Jeffersonians- “common man” • John Adams (F)
Election of 1828 • Andrew Jackson (D) • “Common man” voters • No land requirements • John Quincy Adams (F)
Election of 1860* • Abraham Lincoln (R) • Anti-slavery • Stephen Douglas • No. Democrat • John C. Breckenridge • So. Democrat • Bell • Constitutional Unionist
Election of 1896* • William McKinley (R) • Pro business and city dwellers • William Jennings Bryan (D)
Election of 1932* • Franklin Delano Roosevelt (D) • The powerful New Deal Coalition was born • Labor Unions, farmers, Populists, African-Americans, Southern whites, and socially-conscious individuals • Much of this coalition still votes for Democrats today • Herbert Hoover (R)
Election of 1948 • Harry S Truman (D) • Unpopular yet politically savvy • Thomas Dewey (R)
Election of 1952 • Adlai Stevenson(D) • Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) • The first political commercial to air on television • I Like Ike!! • And the nation did, too!
Election of 1956 • Adlai Stevenson(D) • Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) • His heart attack in the summer of ‘56 did not take away the support of the American people • Bigger win than first time!
Election of 1960 • John F. Kennedy (D) • Television • Richard Nixon (R)
Election of 1964 • Lyndon B. Johnson (D) • Daisy commercial • Barry Goldwater (R)
Election of 1968 • Richard Nixon (R) • Silent majority • Southern strategy • Humphrey (D)- 1968 • Democrats are splintered after violence at 1968 Chicago Convention • Wallace (I)-1968 • Takes away votes in South from Dems