Voter Behavior - Jenks Public Schools

The Election Process – Elections
Carl Johnson
Jenks High School
The Nomination Process - Elections
• Nearly all elections are under the control of the 50
– However, the Constitution does provide for the holding of
elections, as well as electoral college issues
• In response to the election of 2000, the Help America
Vote Act of 2002 was passed…
– Among its provisions:
• Replace all lever-operated and punch card voting devices by 2006
• Upgrade the administration of elections, including the training of
election officials
• Centralize and computerize the voter registration systems
• Provide for provisional voting, in case of voter eligibility questions
Election Day
• Most states conduct their elections on the same date
that Congress has set for national elections
– In November of even-numbered years
• Other states do elect various state officials in
November of odd-numbered years
• Millions of Americans cast their votes before election
day in a process called absentee voting
– Can vote without actually going to the voting place
– Apply for a ballot and return by mail before election day
– At first done to serve a small group of voters (those ill or
expected to be away from home on election day), now any
qualified voter can cast an absentee ballot
Election Day
• There is a phenomenon that first developed in
the 1980’s due to the tremendous popularity of
Ronald Reagan called the coattail effect
– When a strong candidate running for office at the
top of the ballot attracts voters to other candidates
on the party’s ticket
• There is also the reverse coattail effect in which
many of the party’s nominees lose vote due to
the lack of popularity with a candidate at the top
of the ballot
Precincts and Polling Places
• A precinct is a voting district and are the smallest
geographical unit for the conduct of an election
• Usually restricted to no more than 500 to 1000
qualified voters
• A polling place is where the voters who live in a
precinct actually vote
The polling place is supervised by a precinct judge
Most polls are open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm
Makes sure that only qualified voters are allowed to vote
Counts the ballots and then sends results to the county
– Poll watchers (one from each party) are allowed at each
polling place to make sure that the voting rules and
procedures are upheld
Types of Ballots
• There are two types of ballots in which you need to be
familiar with
– The Office Group Ballot - lists all the candidates for an
office grouped together
• Names of the candidates are rotated on the ballot so that each
candidate has a chance to have his/her name at the top of ballot
• Encourages split ticket voting
– The Party Column Ballot – lists each party’s candidate in a
column under the party’s name
• Encourages straight ticket voting if party has a strong candidate at the
top of the ballot
Automated Ballots
• Over half of the votes cast in national elections are
done on some type of voting machine
• Thomas Edison patented the first voting machine in
– Early machines were lever operated
• Electronic vote counting was done in some states with
the use of punch card ballots as late as 2000
– The question of “dangling chads” brought the end of this
type of voting
– The type of electronic voting that is now primarily used is
done through the use of a paper ballot marked by voters and
read by high speed optical scanners
Other Ways to Vote
• A number of states conduct some elections by mail
– Voters receive their ballot, make their choice and mail the
ballot back to election officials
• First used in California in 1977
• Done primarily on the state and local level
• E-voting is still in the experimental phase with testing
done in several states
– Supporters say this will increase participation, but skeptics
believe that the electronic infrastructure is not yet ready
• Hackers
• Viruses
• Fraud
• Violations of Voter Secrecy
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