AP Government Exam Review Ryan Taylor Maher Block 8
Recall • The process by which elected officials may be deprived of office by popular vote. • This relates to government because it is a “power” the public has to control those who govern. This power to remove an official holds them accountable for their actions and increases voter power. • An example of recall occurred in 2011 when Arizona state senator Russell Pearce was successfully recalled.
Referendum • This is a direct vote in which the entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a proposal or piece of legislation. • This is important because it is a manifestation of direct democracy in which a recall of an official, new law, or new amendment may be adopted. • An example of referendum is the legislation SB60 from California, in which voters were asked if drivers licenses should be extended to illegal immigrants. The bill was killed.
Initiative • The means by which a petition signed by a number of registered voters can force a public vote. Essentially, this is public proposed legislation. • This is important to government because it is a manifestation of direct democracy, as the public is proposing laws for itself. • An example is the 1978 initiative on Proposition 13 in California, in which the public put forth a bill to put a cap on property taxes.
Blanket Primary • The system for selecting party candidates for the general election by picking one candidate for each office without regard to party lines. Voter may select a Democrat for one position and a Republican for another. The winner for each party then moves on to the general election. • This is important for government because it gives voters maximum choice in selecting candidates, but it is controversial because people can vote for weak candidates of the opposite party to increase their own party’s chance of winning. • Louisiana is the most famous state for using this system. In fact, it is nicknamed the “Cajun Primary” after Louisiana.
General Election v. Off-Year Election • General Elections are typically elections in which federal-level people are elected whereas off-year elections involve low-level, municipal elections or elections to fill various vacancies in select offices. Off-year elections often have less voter turn out than general elections. Also, off-year elections occur in odd-numbered years; general elections occur in even numbered years. • This applies to government because elections– no matter the year– are the way our democratic-republic works. • Virginia is unique in that it holds its gubernatorial elections on off-years.