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The Electoral Process

The Electoral Process

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The Electoral Process

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  1. The Electoral Process Chapter 7 Section 1—The Nominating Process

  2. Section 1—The Nominating Process • Nomination is the naming of candidates who will run for office. • Major function of the political parties • Leading reason for the decentralization of the parties • Limits the choices of the electorate. • Can determine who will win the general election. Section 1—The Nominating Process

  3. Ways That Candidates Are Nominated • There are five basic ways that candidates are nominated in US. What are they? • Self-announcement • Caucus • Convention • Direct primary • Petition Section 1—The Nominating Process

  4. Self Announcement • Oldest form • Still used in small and local elections • Also used by candidates who want to run as independents • Examples: George Wallace in 1968, Eugene McCarthy in 1976, John Anderson in 1980 and Ross Perot in 1992. Section 1—The Nominating Process

  5. Caucus • Definition. • Early days used by the parties to select their candidates for president. • Congressional Caucuses • Still used in some local elections • Still used by some states for presidential nomination. Section 1—The Nominating Process

  6. Convention • Major Parties used instead of caucus starting in the 1830s. • Why? • First party to have a convention? • anti-Masons in 1831; Whigs had a convention the same year; • Democrats in 1832. • Basic procedure • Criticized and replaced in early 20th Century. Why? Section 1—The Nominating Process

  7. The Direct Primary • Election held within the party to pick the party’s candidates for the general election. • Every state has some form today. • Most states requires major parties to use for important office. • Closely regulated in most states so that state controls them. Section 1—The Nominating Process

  8. Open v. Closed Primary • What is the difference between open and closed primary? • How many states closed? Open? • Advantages of Closed Primary • It prevents one party from raiding the other’s primary • It helps make candidates more responsive to the party and its platform • It makes voters more thoughtful because they have to choose between the parties in order to vote Section 1—The Nominating Process

  9. Open v. Closed Primary • Disadvantages of Closed Primary • Compromises the secrecy of the ballot because voters have to make the party preference known • tends to exclude independent voters from the nomination process Section 1—The Nominating Process

  10. Primaries, Cont. • Run-Off Primary --10 states • Non-Partisan Primary—usually city elections • Evaluating Primaries • Can be confusing • Turnout is low • Primary voters are more extreme and partisan • Expensive • Divide the party Section 1—The Nominating Process

  11. Nomination by Petition • Candidates for public office are nominated by petitions signed by a required number of people. • Used most widely at the local level • Also used by independent candidates to get on the ballot. • State sets the number of signatures needed to get on the ballot. Section 1—The Nominating Process

  12. Section 2--Elections • Elections are pointless unless they are open, free and honest. Section 2s

  13. The Extent of Federal Control • Most election law is state law • Federal control over state elections • Congress has the power to fix the times, place and manner of holding elections for national government (House and Senate). • Congress has the power to control time for choosing presidential electors, to set the date for casting electoral votes and to regulate other aspects of Presidential race Section 2s

  14. Federal Control • When are congressional elections? • First Tuesday after first Monday in November every even-numbered year. • Presidential election is same date every fourth year. • Congress requires the use of secret ballot in all federal elections—Not in Constitution. • Congress has prohibited certain corrupt practices and passed laws to ensure the right to vote Section 2s

  15. The Florida Problem • What problem was it designed to fix? Section 1—The Nominating Process

  16. Help America Vote Act of 2002 • What does it requires states to do? • Replace all lever-operated and punch-card voting devices by 2006 • Upgrade the administration of elections • Centralize and computerize voter registration • Allow provisional voting Section 2s

  17. Absentee and Early Voting • Most states make provision for absentee voting by mail for those unable to get to their regular polling places on election day. • Absentee voting usually covers three groups of potential voters. • Those to ill or disable to make it their polling places • those who expect to be away from hone on election day • Those in the armed forces. • Some states allow early voting for any reason. Section 2s

  18. The Coattail Effect • What is it?. • RIDING THE COATTAILS of other candidates on ballots • Most apparent in presidential elections, but can be seen in state elections, as well. • Reagan had a big one in 1980. Reverse can be true, too. McGovern in 1972, AND Goldwater in 1964, for example. • No clear coat-tail effect in recent presidential elections. Section 2s

  19. Precincts and Polling Places • A Precinct is a voting district—is the smallest geographic unit for the conduct of elections. • State law restricts their size. 500-1000 eligible voters. • A Polling Place—Where people cast their ballots in the precinct. Section 2s

  20. The Ballot • Every state now requires a secret ballot • Constitution does not require • Why is it considered important? • Australian Ballot. Four Features: • Printed at public expense • Lists the names of all candidates in an election • Given out at the polls • Voted in secret Section 2s

  21. The Ballot • Two Types • Office-Group • Party-Column • Which type do political parties like better? • Sample ballots • Ballot fatigue Section 2s

  22. Party Column Ballot Section 1—The Nominating Process

  23. Office Group Ballot Section 1—The Nominating Process

  24. Section 3—Money and the Election Process • The great paradox of modern elections: Money is a corrupting influence but candidates can’t do without it. Section 1—The Nominating Process

  25. Campaign Spending Amounts • In 2004 the cost of all elections was 2 Billion • House and Senate Campaigns cost 1 billion in 2000 • Money is required for mailings, campaign staff, radio ads, web sites, buttons, etc. • Biggest single item? • TV advertising—Runs approximately 150,000 for 30 seconds in prime time. Section 1—The Nominating Process

  26. Sources of Campaign Funding • Private Givers—have always been the major source of funding. • Small Contributors • Wealthier persons • Candidates themselves • Special interest groups/Political Action Committees (PACs). • Temporary organizations • Fund-raising activities by candidates and parties • Public funding—State and Federal funds given to candidates under certain circumstances. Section 1—The Nominating Process

  27. Regulating Campaign Finance • Federal Election Campaign Act • Federal Election Commission • Bi-Partisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. • Citizens United 2010 Section 1—The Nominating Process

  28. Federal Election Commission • The agency set up in 1974 by Congress to administer federal election laws. • Is an independent agency in the executive department. • President can’t fire members • Members appointed by president and confirmed by congress. Section 1—The Nominating Process

  29. Federal Election Commission • Laws overseen fall into four areas: • Timely disclosure of campaign finance data • limits on contributions • limits on expenditures • public funding for several parts of the Presidential election process Section 1—The Nominating Process

  30. Disclosure Requirements • No gifts in the name of another. • Cash gifts limited to $100. • No gifts from foreign sources. • All advertising must bear the name of the candidate. • All contributions must be made through a single committee. • Only the committee can spend the money. • All contributions above $200 must be identified by source and accounted for. • All spending over $200 must be accounted for. • All contributes above $5000 must be reported to FEC within 48 hours. Also contributions over $1000 in the last 20 days of campaign. • Any independent committee spending more than $250 on behalf of a candidate must also file with FEC Section 1—The Nominating Process

  31. Limits on Contributions • Individuals limited to $2000 to any one candidate in the primary and the same in the general election. • Limited to $5000 a year to single PAC and $25,000 to a national party. • Total contribution limit to candidates and PACs is 95,000, during any election cycle (the two years from one general election to the next one). Section 1—The Nominating Process

  32. The Role of PACs • Neither corporations nor labor unions can contribute to any candidate running for a federal office. • PACs are the political arms of special-interest groups—business, labor, professional, cause, and other organizations that try to influence government policies. • Clout of PACs comes primarily from their ability to raise campaign money and their willingness to give it out. • Are more than 4400 PACs today— Section 1—The Nominating Process

  33. The Role of PACs • PACs get money from contributors and members of the sponsoring organization. • Are usually focused on narrow issues. • Distribute money to candidates sympathetic to their views OR have a good chance of winning. • Spent more than $600 Mil. in 2004. • PACs are limited to $5000 to any single federal candidate in an election, but they can contribute to as many candidates as they want. $15000 limit to parties. Section 1—The Nominating Process

  34. Limits on Expenditures • Buckley v. Valeo-- limits on spending abridge free speech. • Thus cannot limit: • how much candidates spend • how much of their own money candidates spend • how much third parties spend to promote a candidate. • However, Presidential contenders who accept federal subsidies ARE subject to limits on their campaign spending. That is part of the deal. Section 1—The Nominating Process

  35. Public Funding of Presidential Campaigns • Fed. Election Campaign Act set up the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. • Money is used every four years to finance 1) the preconvention campaigns, 2) the national conventions and 3) the presidential election campaigns. • Money is administered by the FEC Section 1—The Nominating Process

  36. Public Funding of Presidential Campaigns • Pre-convention Period • Primaries are funded by money raised by candidates plus money received from the FEC. • To be eligible for the public funds and candidate must • raise at least $100,000 in contributions from INDIVIDUALS • In lots of $5000 in each of at least 20 states • Built from donations of not more than $250 • If meet this test, FEC will match the first $250 of each individual donation up to a total of half. Does not match contributions from PACs or political organizations. Section 1—The Nominating Process

  37. Funding Presidential Campaigns • Each major party nominee automatically qualifies for a public subsidy-- 74.6 Mil. In 2004 • If the candidate accepts the money: • Can spend no more than the amount of the subsidy • Can not accept campaign funds from any other source. Section 1—The Nominating Process

  38. Funding Presidential Campaigns • For a minor party to qualify for public funds, the minor party must either • 1) have at least five percent of the popular vote in the last presidential election or • 2) win at least that much of the vote in the election itself. • Very few minor parties meet this threshold • No minor party met this requirement in 2000 or 2004. Section 1—The Nominating Process

  39. Soft Money • Nature of the problem • Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 • Limits soft-money donations to political parties • Limits what parties can spend on campaigns Section 1—The Nominating Process

  40. Citizens United vs. FEC • Corporations buy attack advertisements- under a SUPERPAC name • Idenitfy it as free speech • Unlimited • Section 1—The Nominating Process

  41. Citizens United Impact Section 1—The Nominating Process