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Page 1: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

GOVT 2301

Elections

Page 4: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

What is an Election?

A formal decision-making process by which an electorate (the portion of the population eligible to vote) makes a collective. The choice can

be about any number of things.

Page 5: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

- Who holds an office- Who will vote for who will hold an office- Who will represent a party in an election

- a public policy proposal- a constitutional amendment

etc . . .

Page 6: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

In several previous lectures we have discussed the concept of

elections

Page 7: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

We defined “democracy” in terms of elections.

Majority RulesUniversal Adult Suffrage

But pointed out that the concept of (minority) rights requires that

majority rules be limited.

Page 8: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Not all decisions are subject to majority rule – individual rights for

example.

Page 9: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Federalist #10 argued for the advantage of indirect democracy.

Direct democracies were unstable.

Page 10: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Federalist #51 alludes to different electoral systems for each

governing institution.

Page 11: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Votes by the PeopleVotes by the State LegislaturesVotes by the Electoral College

Appointments

Page 12: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

The last point is important, not all offices are staffed with people who win elections. The Framers of the

Constitution did not trust the population to make selections for

judges for example.

Page 13: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Ex Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has been on a mission

against judicial elections since leaving the court.

Page 14: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

It also reminds us the elections can be structured in many different

ways.

There are certain basic requirements we expect of

elections.

Page 15: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

FreeFair

OpenFrequent

Page 16: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Elections are central to any democratic governing system, but

simply having elections is not enough. The manner in which elections are held is crucially

important.

Page 17: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Totalitarian and authoritarian regimes almost always holds

elections also, but the outcomes tend to be controlled in various

ways.

Often they not allow opposition candidates to run, and the votes

people cast are made public.

Page 19: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

To be legitimate, elections must be:

FreeFair

OpenFrequent

Page 21: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

But there are many costs associated with getting on the ballot and running for office

successfully. Elections themselves are costly, if nothing else, in terms

of time.

Page 22: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Fair

Various sides should be able to compete equally in elections. Governing agencies generally oversee elections and provide neutral forums for redressing

disputes.

Page 23: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

The Texas Secretary of State and the Federal Election Commission

are supposed to ensure that elections are fair on the state and

national levels.

Both sites are great sources of information about elections.

Page 24: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Questions: Are elections in the U.S. and Texas indeed fair? Can minor parties compete successfully? Are all ideas represented in elections?

Page 26: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Open

The electoral process should be as transparent as possible. We should know where candidates stand on

issues and who backs whose campaigns and why. Are there any backrooms deals that we should

know about?

Page 27: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

The Media should be able to cover elections.

People and interest groups should be able to compete in them and support or oppose candidates.

Page 28: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

The election process should be as transparent as possible.

Controversy: Should people know who is financing which candidates?

Is this a private matter or should people know who is bankrolling

whom?

Page 29: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Frequent

Elections should be scheduled on a regular basis so that the electorate has an ongoing ability to be able to

influence public policy.

Page 30: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Elections shouldn’t be occasional, with large periods of time between them. They shouldn’t be scheduled

strategically to enable those in power to influence outcomes.

Page 31: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

But if they are too frequent government can’t accomplish it’s

objectives. For some this is a good thing, for others this isn’t.

Anti-Federalists wanted yearly elections at least.

Page 32: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

American elections are held every two years.

Discussion question: Is this too frequent or not frequent enough? Do we allow policymakers enough

time to accomplish their objectives?

Page 33: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Since we are always within two years of an election, the election

season in a sense never ends.

All policy positions – every vote – is cast with at least some

consideration of how it will impact a candidate’s competitiveness.

Page 34: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Any vote for a bill that constituents oppose can lead to a primary

challenge within the party, or a general election challenger from

the other party.

Opposition can come from the left or right.

Page 35: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Question: Does this inhibit the ability of representatives to govern

effectively?

Campaigning is not governing.

Page 36: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

The Winner Take All System

Page 37: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

A basic, and consequential fact of American elections:

They tend to be winner take all elections held in single member districts

Page 38: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Each race is run independently. There is one position up for grabs.

The candidate with the most votes, whether that is a plurality or

majority, wins.

These are sometimes called First Past the Post elections

Page 39: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Comparison:

Proportional representation: A system where the electorate votes

for parties, and the parties then are assigned seats in proportion to

their vote total.

Page 40: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

In a winner take all election, each election is separate and only the majority or plurality winner gets

the contested seat.

Page 41: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Winner take all elections discourage support for minor party candidates.

A minor party candidate might be more appealing than a major party

candidate, but can’t win.

Page 42: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Consequence:

The growth of two major ”catch-all” political parties. Voters opt to support the more acceptable of

the major party candidates.

Page 43: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Recent example: the Tea Party is not really a party. It is a faction

within the Republican Party. If they ran as an independent party they

would peel votes from the Republicans and give Democrats an

electoral advantage.

Page 44: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

This explains why elections in the United States are dominated by

two parties. It just so happens that they are the Democratic and

Republican Parties.

We cover this story next week.

Page 45: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

What Purposes Do Elections Serve?

Page 46: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Purposes of elections

- select party candidates - select office holders

- influence course of public policy- legitimate the governmental

system

Page 47: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Select party candidates

Primary Elections

Every two years the two major parties use – with some exceptions – primary elections in each state to

select the candidates they will present in the general election.

Page 48: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Select office holders

General Elections

In the U.S. and Texas Constitutions, and in city charters and local

purpose governments, it is stated that at certain times elections will

be held for top positions.

Page 49: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Influence Course of Public Policy

By voting for a sufficient number of candidates pledged to implement a

specific policy, the general electorate, acting in unison, can influence the gradual course of

public policy.

Page 50: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Examples

A liberal swing in policy was driven by election results from

1932 – 1968

A conservative swing in policy was driven by election results from

1968 - 2004

Page 51: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

The electorate either votes for people whose policies they

support, or vote against people whose policies they oppose.

Page 52: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Legitimate the Governmental System

Creating a connection between the electorate and government

legitimates the decisions of the government since the populace

has had an opportunity to participate.

Page 53: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

The lack of meaningful elections can lead to rebellion.

Eastern Europe – 1989Middle East – 2011

Page 54: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Tea Party animosity to government was reduced following the

elections of 2010.

Page 55: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Direct and Indirect Elections

Page 56: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Elections, as we already know, can take a variety of forms.

Direct Indirect

Page 57: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

The Lesson of Federalist #10

Indirect elections are superior to direct elections. They allow for public input into the governing

process, but insulate government from the “instability, uncertainty, and confusion” common in mass

politics.

Page 58: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

This point was not accepted by the Anti-Federalists. The Jacksonian

movement was based on the idea that the electorate should be

expanded and the general population could make informed

decisions about government.

Page 59: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Texas’ electoral system follows the Jacksonian model.

Jacksonian Democracy holds that the citizenry must have broad

influence over government. This includes elections for multiple offices and short term lengths.

Page 60: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Indirect Elections

The electorate votes for members of representative institutions and holds them accountable for their

actions in periodic elections.

Page 61: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

The U.S. Constitution outlines four separate ways that members can

be indirectly elected to office.

Page 62: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Federalist #51 justifies this system by stating that it helps separate

powers.

The separated powers are augmented by unique, distinct

elections

Page 63: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Popular elections - HouseState Legislative Elections - Senate

Electoral College - PresidentAppointments - Judiciary

Page 64: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

This means that each of the elected institutions are

accountable to a separate constituency.

Page 65: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

The 17th Amendment changed how Senators were elected. From state

selection process to a direct election.

This has changed the fundamental nature of the Senate.

Page 66: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

The Federal Courts are designed to be removed completely from the

electoral process.

Madison stated that this was to ensure that judges were qualified

to hold office.

Page 67: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Each elected official is elected from a given district that creates a

constituency that the official is then accountable to.

Page 68: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

On the national level, members of the House of Representatives represent one of 435 separate

districts around the country. They represent a local constituency.

Page 70: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

United States Senators represents a state wide constituency.

The President represents a national constituency

Page 71: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

All of these are indirect elections.

While there are no direct elections on the national level, some states

and most cities have direct elections.

Page 72: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Three types:

InitiativeReferendum

Recall

Page 73: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Initiative

Eligible voters can place an item on the ballot directly if they are able

to get a sufficient number of signatures on a petition.

Page 75: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Referendum

Certain types of laws do not take effect unless they are approved by

a public vote.

Page 76: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Recall Elections

The voters, by getting enough signatures on a petition, can

remove an incumbent from office.

Page 77: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Direct elections are products of the

Progressive Movement. Some states that were greatly influenced by the progressive movement have incorporated these elections into

their constitutional systems.

Page 78: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

“the average citizen should have more control over his government”

Page 79: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Texas is not a referendum/initiative state.

The only vote Texas voters can cast is for or against the ratification of

amendments to the Texas Constitution.

Page 80: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Cities in Texas do allow for such elections however.

Page 81: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Pros and Cons of direct democracy

Page 82: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Pros

They make government more responsive to the immediate preferences of the electorate.

Page 83: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Cons

They make government more responsive to the immediate preferences of the electorate.

Page 84: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Can initiatives make a state ungovernable?

Page 85: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

California

Page 86: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Initiatives in California have led to both tax cuts and increased

spending.

Page 87: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Controversy:

Are initiatives, referenda and recall elections truly democratic?

Sometimes a small group of well funded individuals can fund a

petition drive. It may seem more grassroots than it actually is.

Page 88: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

The Reliability of Elections

Page 89: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Controversy:

Are elections reliable means of turning public opinion into policy?

Do elections provide clear-cut indications of what the electorate

wants?

Page 90: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Different electoral systems can provide different results.

Page 91: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Plurality winners are not always the same as majority winners, or

winners in races based on a hierarchy, such as a Borda count.

Read: Condorcet Critereon.

Page 92: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

In a plurality election, the candidate with the most votes wins

the race, but a majority election requires at least 50% + 1 of the vote. Often run-off between the top two candidates are required.

But the run-off winner isn’t always the candidate who had the most

votes in the initial election.

Page 93: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Manipulating Elections

Page 94: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Whoever designs elections can distort the outcome of that

election.

Page 95: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Lets focus on two ways that elections can be manipulated.

Limiting Access to the Polls Gerrymandering

Page 96: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Access to the polls can be limited by either not allowing certain

people to vote (denying suffrage), or by making it difficult for some people to vote more than others.

Page 97: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Suffrage

The Right to Vote

Page 98: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

In the early days of the Republic, suffrage was severely limited and included property and religious

requirements in addition to race, gender and age.

Page 99: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

The U.S. Constitution originally left the question of suffrage

completely up to the states.

Page 100: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Article One, Section Two, Clause One:

“The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every

second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall

have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of

the State Legislature.”

Page 101: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

First: Is Voting a Fundamental Right?

Voter ID Controversy

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board

Page 102: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Expansion

Property OwnershipRace

GenderPoverty

Age

Page 103: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Property rights were removed state by state as part of the

expansion of participation that occurred during the Jacksonian

Era.

Page 104: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

This allowed for mass participation in politics and elections and led to the development of large political

parties.

Page 109: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

What allows for expansion?

Advocacy on the part of the disenfranchised.

Electoral Opportunity

Page 110: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Current Controversies regarding suffrage

Mental CompetenceFelony Conviction

Page 111: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Gerrymandering refers to the political manipulation of the

districts that representatives are selected from. The opposition can

be divided into separate districts so that they are unable to win any

races.

Page 113: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

As opposed to Senators, House representatives represent districts that are subject to redesign every ten years. So do members of the

Texas House and Senate.

Page 114: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

After every census a state can gain or lose representatives. This

creates a fight over where new districts will be created or which

districts will be removed.

Page 115: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

The Supreme Court has also ruled that each district has to, when

designed, have the same number of people in them.

Baker v. CarrReynolds v. Sims

Page 116: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

How Are Districts Drawn?

Texas Redistricting

Page 117: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

The actual design is decided by the state legislature, meaning that the

majority party in the state legislature gets to draw the

districts in the state.

They tend to draw then in a manner that will benefit them.

Page 118: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

They will attempt to minimize the number of seats the minority party

can receive.

Page 120: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Vote packing squeezes as many minority votes in as few districts as possible, vote dilution (or cracking) distributes minority votes across as

many districts as possible.

Click here for descriptions of each.

Page 121: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 made these tactics illegal when

used to dilute the voting strength of racial minorities.

Page 122: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

It also subjects states that had histories of racial gerrymandering to preclearance (Section 5 of the VRA), meaning that any redrawn districts must be approved by a

panel of federal judges.

Page 123: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives
Page 124: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

The continued need for preclearance has been a subject of

recent debate.

Page 126: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Problems:

1 - How can you prove racial discrimination has actually occurred?

2 – How can the problems of past acts of racial gerrymandering be addressed

without violating the law?

Page 127: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Some gerrymandering has resulted from the need to ensure minority

representation.

Benign GerrymanderingRacial Gerrymandering

Page 128: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

But these have been found unconstitutional since they

explicitly take race into consideration when districts are

drawn. Shaw v. RenoMiller v. Johnson

Page 129: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Most districts show evidence of gerrymandering.

Page 130: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives
Page 131: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

What consequences has gerrymandering had

for democracy in America?

Increased polarization?Undermined representation?

Page 132: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Gerrymandering may turn the electoral process on its head.

Rather than constituents selecting representatives, representatives

select their constituents.

Page 133: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Should a partisan institution like the state legislature, design

districts? Or should it be done by a more neutral process?

Iowa

Page 134: GOVT 2301 Elections. Blog Posts: Campaigns Campaign Finance Candidate Characteristics Elections Elections 2008 Elections 2010 Elections 2012 Initiatives

Some History

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One way to understand the manner in which elections have

changed over U.S. history is to look at how presidential elections have

evolved.

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The first two presidential elections were dominated by Washington who was assumed would be the

first occupant of the office.

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After Washington there were three phases in the evolution of

Presidential elections

1 – King Caucus2 – Nominating Conventions

3 – Primary Elections

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King Caucus

By the mid 1790s political parties had developed in Congress and would dominate the electoral process until the late 1820s.

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Nominations for the presidency were controlled by parties in

Congress, especially the Democrat – Republicans. This gave the

legislature additional influence over the executive. It also kept

politics an elite enterprise.

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Westward expansion and agitation by non property owners fueled

Andrew Jackson’s efforts to remove presidential politics from the

Congress to the states and cities.

Nominating conventions first met in 1832.

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Nominating Conventions

As political parties developed, they controlled the selection of

presidential candidates. Nominating conventions would

control the process.

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The nominating convention provided an opportunity every four years for party members across the country to meet. But the meetings were dominated by party bosses who developed enough power to

handpick certain candidates.

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These bosses grew to dominate party machines across the country

and were generally viewed as being corrupt, though political parties were especially strong

during this period.

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A variety of reforms were proposed and implemented in the early 1900s to minimize the power

of party machines. Key among these was the primary election.

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Primary Elections

Primary elections were developed to allow the voters to select presidential nominees for

whichever political party they affiliate themselves with.

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Currently almost every state’s Democratic and Republican Parties

has a primary election to determine its nominees to all elected offices not only the

presidency.

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Delegates are apportioned to each candidate based on the percentage of the vote the candidate receives

in the election. These delegates will vote for that candidate at the

party’s state and national conventions.

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There are two general types of primaries

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Closed: Voters must register ahead of time as a member of a party in

order to vote in that party’s primary. This allows the party to control its selection process by

limiting participation to its members.

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Open: Voters do not have to register as party members, and can go to either party’s primary. They

can only go to one however.

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Notice that there is no role for independent voters to play in the

selecting candidates for the general election. This matters, as

we will see below.

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The increased use of primary elections has been argued to have

had an impact on the nature of U.S. Elections.

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1 - The electoral process is now candidate centered.

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Since candidates have to distinguish themselves from other

party members they forge their own unique identities with the

public apart from simply being a member of a party.

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They also create their own campaign apparatus and

fundraising sources. This makes them less subject to their party.

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When we discuss political parties further we will explore the idea

that this has led to a reduction in the power of parties as

organizations.

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2 – Politics has become increasingly polarized ideologically.

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Primary voters are different than voters in general elections.

By definition they are party identifiers and tend to be more

extreme in their ideological positions.

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They tend to select candidates who reflect those extreme positions,

though the more extreme candidates sometimes are unable

to win general elections where independent voters hold more

influence.

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Voter Turnout

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Not everyone who is eligible to vote actually votes. The turnout rate refers to the percentage of

eligible voters who actually vote.

Wikipedia: Voter TurnoutU.S. Elections Project: Voter Turnout

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Voter turnout in Presidential Elections from 1824 - 2008

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Voter turnout has declined over American history. From 80%

commonly, to as low as 49% in recent elections.

Why?

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Potential causes:

Voter apathy / alienationVoter satisfactionLess voter fraud

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Voter apathy / alienation

People have grown more detached from politics and feel less able to influence the governing process. Why bother voting if that’s the

case?

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Voter satisfaction

The turnout rate tends to decrease when the economy is expanding,

and increases when it is in decline. If things are going well, why vote?

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Less voter fraud

High voter turnout in the 19th Century occurred often because

people voted multiple times. Registration requirements –

another Progressive Era reform – reduced the chance that this can

happen.

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But it also creates barriers to vote.

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An alternative reason. Is Voting Irrational?

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Perhaps people don’t vote because it seems irrational to vote

Voting is not a rational activity if one expects their single solitary vote to impact the result of an

election.

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Few elections are settled by one vote

There is evidence that elections where one candidate is far ahead

of the competition have lower turnout than competitive

elections. This can impact down ballot races.

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But voting may indeed be rational if one thinks about it on terms of

group strength.

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Group Turnout

Who Votes?Who Does Not?

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Not all groups in society vote at the same rates.

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-The old vote at higher rates than the young.

- The educated vote more than the uneducated.

- The rich vote more than the poor.

- Whites and Blacks more than Hispanics and Asians.

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Why does this matter?

Legislators are more likely to vote in favor of the interests of groups

that vote rather than those that do not.

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Age and Turnout in the 2008 and 2010 Elections

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Voter Behavior

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Once the decision to vote has been made, what accounts for the decisions people make at the

polls?

The study of voter behavior attempts to unlock this.

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Three items have been found to be determinants of vote choice

Party IdentificationCandidate Characteristics

Contemporary Issues

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Party Identification

Historically, parties have mobilized people to the polls and have forged relationships with certain electoral

groups that identify themselves with the party. We will review

these groups in the next lectures.

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The stronger the identification, the more likely these groups will

consistently vote for the party’s candidates. Party ID is not static, it

fluctuates over time.

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The Gallup Poll determines party identification by asking people if

they identify as Republican, Democrat or Independent.

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If Rep or Dem, they ask of they are weak or strong identifiers. If independent they ask them

whether they lean to either party, or are truly independent.

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Note that over the years the number of independents has increased dramatically. Fewer

people use party identification as a determinant of the vote. It is

argued that many have de-aligned from political parties.

(this is a controversial point)

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Other factors influence the vote choice more.

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Candidate Characteristics

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Voters also take into consideration certain features of the candidates,

be they physical, moral or whatever. Often these perceptions can override partisan affiliations, or

lead to party realignments.

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Contemporary Issues

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Contemporary events can have an impact on which party’s candidate

gets wavering votes.

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The public tends to think each party is better able to perform

certain functions than the other.

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In times of economic hardship, Democrats tend to do better

In times of military threat, Republicans tend to do better.

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Elections are sometimes decided by factors outside the control of

either party’s candidates.

Some argue that campaigns really are irrelevant.

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Funding Elections

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Elections cost money. This is true both for the campaigns run by

individual candidates and for the elections themselves. Campaign finance and

campaign finance reform continue to be controversial subjects.

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The average U.S. House race costs more than $1 million

The average U.S. Senate race costs more than $10 million

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Presidential Fundraising and Spending, 1976 – 2008

Total Contributions 1976: $171 millionTotal Contributions: 2008: $1,748 billion

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Why so costly?

Areas of Increased costs:

Media PurchasesConsultants

PollsTravel

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Members of Congress complain that much of their time is spent

fundraising for their next election.

This raises questions about what members are doing to earn those

funds.

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Are contributors likely to have a greater opportunity to have their

needs addressed by legislators than will constituents?

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Given the need for funding, whose interests are being represented in Congress and the White House?

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Are we still a democracy, or perhaps a plutocracy?

Is a campaign contribution really a subtle form of bribery?

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Attempts have been made over history to reduce the

influence of money in campaigns. Again, the Progressive movement drove many of these proposals.

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Help America Vote Act of 2002

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But constitutional questions have developed since political

participation is constitutionally protected.

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Buckley v. Valeo

A 1976 decision that determined that spending money to influence an

elections is a constitutionally protected form of free speech. Limits

on spending money is unconstitutional since it impedes the ability of

candidates to get messages out.

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Citizens United v FEC

This is a recent decision that found the campaign spending restrictions placed on corporations and unions

violated the free speech clause. Free speech rights applied to

corporations.

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Lingering Questions:

Will the result of Citizens United lead to additional spending?

Will this spending benefit corporations at the expense of flesh and blood citizens?

Will it undermine fair elections?