AP Government Chapter 10 pt. 1

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Politics in Action: The Challenge of Figuring Out the Meaning of a Vote
Florida election
Joseph Harris
Criticized voters for trying to
divine the intent of the voter
60 percent of citizens of
voting age participate
Elections institutionalize
political activity, making it
possible for most political
participation to be channeled
through the electoral process
rather than bubbling up
through demonstrations,
riots, or revolutions
Hanging Chads – determining
whether punches were
present
Invented punch-card voting
system in the early 1960s
By 2000 the system was old,
and many people did not
follow the instructions
completely, so they were left
to examine
Scholars who analyze
Election is the expression of
elections have a seemingly
popular will
easier job- figuring out the
Have we expressed our
meaning of the vote totals
thoughts on the public policy
once they have been counted of the united States?
The cross on a piece of paper
does not express them
Candidates sometimes
Are the people represented
obscure the issues
by elections in America
Elections provide regular
Legitimacy: A
access to political power
characterization of elections
by political scientists
meaning that they are almost
universally accepted as a fair
and free method of selecting
political leaders. When the
legitimacy is high, as in the
united states, even the losers
accept the results peacefully
10.1 How American Election Work
Three kinds of elections
No constitutional provision
for specific policy questions
to be decided by a
nationwide vote
Primaries: party nominees
General elections: contested
between nominees of the
parties
Elections on specific policy:
making or ratifying legislation
May come to pass in the 21st European democracies put to
century
question of great importance
(joining the European
Monetary Union)
Two methods for getting
items on a state ballot
Daniel Smith argues that
ballot initiatives stem from
the actions of a dedicated
political entrepreneur
November 2010 elections
Referendum: A state-level
method of direct legislation
that gives voters a chance to
approve or disapprove
proposed legislation or a
proposed constitutional
amendment
Initiative petition: A process
permitted in some states
whereby voters may put
proposed changes in the
state law to a vote if
sufficient signatures are
obtained on petitions
None of Smiths people were
wealthy or well known
Initiative petitions are often
portrayed as lawmaking from
the ground up
24 states mostly in the west
currently enable voters to
propose and decide
legislation through an
initiative petition
California’s proposition 13:
put limit on the rise in
property taxes in California
Ordinary individuals can
sometimes change the
course of public policy
California: voters rejected
decriminalization of ounce of
weed
Oklahoma: voters approved
official state actions must be
conducted in English
Arkansas: approved right to
hunt and fish
10.2 A Tale of Three Elections
Times change, so do
elections
1800: The First Electoral
Transition of Power
1800 election was not much
of an election at all
JA and TJ were nominated by
their parties
No primaries, no nominating,
no candidates speeches, no
entourage of reporters
No campaign, because
communication was too slow
newspapers
Rabidly partisan
Campaigning was considered
to be below the dignity of the
presidential office
Jefferson “bible Burner”
Elector cast two ballots
Top vote getter was named
president and the runner up
was vice president
First peaceful transition of
power between parties
1896: A Bitter Fight Over
Economic Interests
1896 was largely fought over
economics
Bryant was the youngest
nominee
2008: An Election About
Change
2008 presidential campaign,
Barak Obama
Republican Presidential
nomination wrapped up
sooner and more decisively
by senator John McCain
Nations agenda changed
dramatically as a credit crisis
rocked the financial markets
in late September. McCain
took an aggressive approach,
suspending his campaign
Sarah Palin
Obama linked McCain to
G.W. Bush
Electors also voted for TJ’s
vice presidential choice…
Burr
Adams “monarchist, who
would destroy every man
who differed him”
He ended up tying TJ, and felt
inspired, but got cut
National nominating was well Republicans: St. Louis,
established
McKinley (gold)
Democrats: Chicago, Bryant
(silver)
Bryant started the election
campaign, but lost to
McKinley’s porch campaign
Catapulted to national
prominence as the result of a
debut speech that electrified
the Democratic Convention
By the time Obama declared
presidential candidacy, he
had built a national
constituency and established
himself as the primary
alternative to the
frontrunner, Senator Hillary
Clinton
Obama approached the
situation coolly, said
presidents have to work on
multiple things all the time
Obama: focus on the
economy; middle class tax
cuts, extension of health care
coverage, and programs to
support education
Effective stump speaker, not
so effective in one-on-one
interviews
Obama carried 53% of the
popular vote
38% said she was qualified
66% said Biden was qualified
McCain 46%
10.3 Whether to Vote: A Citizen’s First Choice
Suffrage: the legal right to
vote in the united states
gradually extended to
virtually all citizens over the
age of 18
Increase in the right to vote,
but decrease in the voter
turn out
Deciding Whether to Vote
125 million people vote in a
presidential election
Voting is somewhat costly
Anthony Downs
Political efficacy: the belief
that one’s political
participation really mattersthat one’s vote can actually
make a difference
Civic duty: The belief that in
order to support democratic
government, a citizen should
vote
Registering to Vote
Vote early and often
Voter registration laws to
prevent corruption
One vote hardly effects the
outcome
Spending time to collect data
Rational people vote if they
believe that the policies of
one party will bring more
benefits than the policies of
the other party
People who see policy
differences between the
parties are more likely to join
the ranks of voters
Efficacy is measured by
asking people to agree or
disagree
Voter registration: A system
adopted by the states that
requires voters to register
prior to voting. Some states
require citizens to register as
2008, people rather not vote
than take time off school or
work
If you’re indifferent, you
abstain
Those who lack strong
feelings are quite rational in
staying home on election day
North Dakota: no registration
States with election day
registration have good voter
turn out rates
Motor Voter Act: A 1933 act
that requires states to permit
people to register to vote
when they apply for their
driver’s license.
much as 30 days in advance,
whereas others permit
election day registration
Minuscule results
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