Bell Ringer
What is currently happening
to political parties? Discuss 2
ways voters and candidates
influence this.
Exit Ticket
List all of the requirements
and the current restrictions for
Bell Ringer
List the five stages (with the
amendments and laws) that
extended voting rights.
Bell Ringer
“Democracy is a form of government
by popular ignorance”
– Elbert Hubbard.
Is Hubbard referring to people
who choose not to vote, or to
uninformed voters? Could he be
referring to both? Explain.
Bell Ringer
What would you vote for?
Write down one new “law”
you would like to see change
in the classroom.
The events of this video occurred 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and 10
years after desegregation laws in the South.
1. Why do you think there was such an obvious
disconnect between our country’s laws and the
reality of the civil rights struggle?
2. Are laws enough to protect civil rights?
Why/why not?
To make democracy work, we must be a nation of
participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has
no right to complain.
~Louis L'Amour
History of Voting Rights
• The Framers of the Constitution left power to set
suffrage qualifications to each state.
– Suffrage means the right to vote.
– Franchise means the same thing! Hooray for synonyms!
• The electorate is the voters.
• Today, the size of the American electorate is over
200 million people—nearly all citizens at least 18
years of age.
It hasn’t always been that way…
History of voting:
Today’s restrictions:
• Mentally incompetent
• Convicted felons
• Young people (under 18)
Past groups disenfranchised:
• Women
• Poor people
• African-Americans
• Native Americans
• Asian immigrants
Universal Voter Requirements:
• States decide voter eligibility based on
three factors:
1. Citizenship: Most states require US
2. Residence: Legal resident of the state for a
minimum amount of time.
3. Age: 18 minimum age.
Other Qualifications
– All states (except crazy ol’ North Dakota)
require citizens to register to vote.
• Registration is a procedure of voter identification
intended to prevent fraudulent voting.
– Most states close 30 days in advance
*Some allow reg. day of election (ID)
– Prevent voter fraud
Extending Suffrage:
5 Stages
1.1800s: Religious,
property, and tax
Extending Suffrage:
5 Stages
2. 15th Amendment
(1870): Racial
minority males can
vote (at least, that’s
what was intended…)
The Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Law
• Abolished the use of voter
registration or a literacy
requirement to discriminate
against any voter.
• Relied on injunctions—court
orders—to enforce the law.
• (Jim Crow Poll Test)
The Aftermath
• The violent response of
civilians and police and state
troopers to a voter registration
drive mounted by Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr. in Selma,
Alabama showed that the Civil
Rights Acts of 1957, 1960
and 1964 were still not enough
to ensure voter equality.
Extending Suffrage:
5 Stages
3. 19th Amendment (1920):
Women can vote
Women’s suffrage
Anti-Suffrage Propaganda:
Anti-Suffrage Arguments
1. Women would be corrupted by politics and chivalry would die out
2. If women became involved in politics, they would stop marrying, having
children, and the human race would die out (seriously, no more
3. Women are emotional creatures, and incapable of making a sound
political decision.
Extending Suffrage:
5 Stages
4. 1960s:
– The Voting Rights Act of 1965 guaranteed the
right to vote for minorities.
– The 23rd Amendment (1961) granted citizens
of the District of Columbia the right to vote for
presidential electors.
– The 24th Amendment (1964) eliminated the
poll tax.
Extending Suffrage:
5 Stages
5. 26th Amendment
(1971): Voting age
is 18.
Bell Ringer
Do you believe that Tuesday is
a good day to vote? Why or
why not? Explain.
religious tests
• property qualifications
• literacy tests
• poll taxes
• gerrymandering
Abolished by the 24th
Laws enacted by seven Southern states between 1895
and 1910 to deny suffrage to American blacks; it said
that anyone who had been able to vote before the 15th
amendment, and their descendants; would be exempt
from educational, property, or tax requirements for
Abolished by The Voting Rights
The practice of
drawing or
altering the
boundaries of a
constituency or
district in a way
that affects the
Voter Behavior
Voter Behavior
• American electorate is about 200M
– Only about 50 to 55% vote
• Even less vote in congressional
elections, especially off-year
– This year, only 36% of eligible voters cast their
ballot! Lowest since WWII. 
• Millions of nonvoters among voters
– Nonvoting voters: People who can vote but don’t
– Ballot Fatigue: Voters who complete only part of
the ballot
reasons people don’t vote
1. Lack of interest (#1
2. Distrust
3. Cumbersome election
4. “Time zone fallout”
hurts west coast
5. Believe vote doesn’t
Cannot voters (20M)
• 12M resident aliens - live somewhere
besides residence
• 5M are ill or physically unable
• 2 to 3M travel unexpectedly
• 2 M who are in jail or prison
• 500,000 in mental institutions
• 100,000 don’t b/c religious beliefs
• Those most likely to vote:
– Higher level income, education, job
– Long term resident
– Strong party identity
• More competitive elections increase
Factors that influence
1. Sociological Factors (social & econ)
Personal characteristics – age, race, income,
occupation, education, religion
Group affiliations – family, co-workers, friends
2. Psychological Factors (perception of
View of political parties, candidates & issues
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