Les. 2

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Constitution
Lesson 2
Administration of Elections
- Elections
El ti
mustt be
b free,
f
honest,
h
t & accurate.
t
- Laws are in place to protect integrity of the election.
A. Federal Control
i
in
i the
h U.S.
1. 500,000 offices
2. State law dictates most of the rules.
3. Some Federal Laws are spelled out in the const.
- time, place, etc. – for national elections
- 1st Tues. after 1st Mon. in Nov. – Congress & Pres.
- use of secret ballots Æ allowed voting machines
- prohibits
hibit corruptt practices
ti
- ensures equality
- all other rules are left up to the states.
B When
B.
Wh Elections
El ti
Are
A Held
H ld
1. Most states hold elections the same day as the nat. election.
2. Local elections are often in the spring.
C C
C.
Coattail
tt il Eff
Effectt
1. coattail effect – strong candidate at the top of the ballot
encourages voters to vote for other members of the party.
ex. Ronald Regan helped many Rep. win – Senators, Govs, etc.
2. Can have a reverse effect – if not well liked!
2
3. Critics feel like state & local elections should be on a
different day. - avoid the coattail effect.
Precincts & Polling Places
- precinct - voting district
A. Precinct
1. Smallest geographic unit for conducting elections
- 500 – 1000 voters
voters.
2. polling place – where voters actually vote within precinct.
3. County Clerk draws precinct lines, polling places, etc.
- polls open at 7 – 8 AM and close at 7 – 8 PM
PM.
4. Make sure that only qualified voters vote.
5. Poll Watchers – from each party – watch primaries for fraud.
Ballot
B
ll t
- ballot – device by which a voter registers a choice in an election.
- must be secret.
1. Colonial Times – by voice – “manly” way to vote.
- lots of “vote
vote buying.
buying.” – buy drinks before vote, etc.
- intimidation – corrupt.
2. Mid 1800’s – paper ballots – keep it secret.
A. Australian Ballot
1. Printed @ public expense.
2. List names of all the candidates.
3. Given out only @ the polls. – 1/voter
4. Vote in secret.
- very
y ppopular
p
Æ early
y 1900’s.
B. Office – Group Ballot
1. Candidates for each office are grouped together.
C Party – Column Ballot
C.
1. Lists each party’s cand. in column under the party’s name.
- can vote entire ballot for a party.
- encourages
g strait ticket voting.
g
- party wants strongest candidate @ the top.
D. Sample Ballots
1 Available in most states
1.
states, newspapers
newspapers, etc.
etc
- helps prepare people for the election.
E. Long & Short of It
1. Typically
i ll ballots
b ll are very long.
l
2. People can’t vote intelligently for every office.
- local positions are often difficult.
3 ballot fatigue – quit voting at the bottom of the ballot.
3.
ballot
Voting Machines
A. Thomas Edison invented the first one in 1892.
1. Usually used in urban areas.
2. Today about ½ of voters use a machine.
precinct.
3. Increases the # of voters in a p
B. Electronic Vote Counting
- punch card ballots – counted by a machine.
C. Vote-By-Mail
y
1. Usually only for local elections.
2. Critics say it increases voter fraud.
3. Increases voter turnout.
4. Reduces the cost of conducting elections.
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