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Elections and Voting. Election Day USA. Federal elections are held on the first Tuesday in November of every even numbered year Every federal election we vote for our Representatives and 1/3 of the Senators Every 4 years we vote for President. 3 Special elections. Initiatives

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election day usa
Election Day USA
  • Federal elections are held on the first Tuesday in November of every even numbered year
  • Every federal election we vote for our Representatives and 1/3 of the Senators
  • Every 4 years we vote for President
3 special elections
3 Special elections
  • Initiatives
    • Ideas that come from the public and are voted on during elections
  • Referendums
    • Ideas that come from lawmakers that are voted on directly by the public
  • Recalls
    • A special election called to remove an elected official from office
  • Primary Elections
    • Purpose: to determine who will represent the party in the General election
      • Ex: Hillary Clinton v. Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination
  • General Elections
    • Purpose: vote between the nominees of the different party
      • Ex: Mitt Romney(R) v. Barack Obama (D)
open and closed primaries
Open and Closed primaries
  • Closed primary:
    • Only registered party members can vote
  • Open primary:
    • Any registered voter can vote, regardless of party
  • Runoff:
    • In most states, a candidate needs a plurality
    • In some, candidate needs a majority
Presidential ElectionsLO 13.2: Outline the electoral procedures for presidential and general elections.

To Learning Objectives

Primaries and Caucuses

Delegates to convention chosen by election or caucus.

Elections may be winner-take-all or proportional.

Caucuses are better for the party organization.

Trend toward front-loading.

the electoral college
The Electoral College
  • The framers created the electoral college because they were afraid voters would be uninformed on national elections
  • How does it work?
    • Each state has a set number of electoral votes (# of Reps + # of Senators)
    • Whichever candidate gets the most votes in a state gets ALL of the electoral votes
    • You need 270 to win
    • If no one gets 270, the House of Representatives picks the President
electing a president the electoral college
Electing a President: The Electoral College

To Learning Objectives

LO 13.2

Representatives from each state who select president.

Electors equivalent to senators plus representatives.

Framers favored system to remove power from people.

The 1876 and 2000 elections raised concerns about system.

the big question
The Big Question…
  • Do we still need the electoral college?
    • Many argue that with modern elections and vote counting, the person who earns a plurality of the votes should win
    • Candidates don’t campaign in states they don’t think they can win
    • What do you think?
voters and voting behavior
Voters and Voting Behavior
  • Def: Electorate
    • The electorate is defined as all eligible registered voters
  • Def: Absentee Voting
    • If you will be out of your voting area on election day, you can file an absentee ballot
Congressional ElectionsLO 13.3: Compare and contrast congressional and presidential elections, and explain the incumbency advantage.

To Learning Objectives

The Incumbency Advantage

  • Support from a paid staff.
  • Incumbents are more visible.
  • “Scaring off” other challengers.
    • name recognition
    • large war chests
    • free constituency mailings
    • Previous campaign experience
why incumbents lose

To Learning Objectives

LO 13.3

Why Incumbents Lose
  • Redistricting can pit incumbents against one another.
  • Scandals.
  • Presidential coattails.
  • Midterm elections.
patterns in vote choice lo 13 4 identify seven factors that influence voter choice
Party identification


Income and education

Race and ethnicity




To Learning Objectives

Patterns in Vote ChoiceLO 13.4: Identify seven factors that influence voter choice.

Many factors impact voter choice.

what influences how people vote
What influences how people vote?
  • In general:
    • Education
      • Less = D More = R
    • Gender
      • Female = D Male = R
    • Race
      • White = R Af Am = D Lat = ??
    • Income
      • Lower = D Higher = R
    • Religion
      • Protestant = R Catholic, Jewish = D
    • Geography
      • South = R Northeast = D West Coast = D Heartland/West = R Midwest = ???
voter turnout lo 13 5 identify six factors that affect voter turnout

To Learning Objectives

Voter TurnoutLO 13.5: Identify six factors that affect voter turnout.
  • States regulate voter eligibility.
  • Factors that affect voter turnout:
    • Income and education
    • Race and ethnicity
    • Gender
    • Age
    • Civil engagement
    • Interest in politics
Toward Reform: Problems with Voter TurnoutLO 13.6: Explain why voter turnout is low, and evaluate methods for improving voter turnout.

To Learning Objectives

  • Voter turnout in the United States is low. Why?
    • Other commitments: People are too busy.
    • Difficulty of registration
    • Number of elections
    • Voter attitudes: apathy, satisfaction, lack of a pressing issue
    • Weakened influence of political parties
ways to improve voter turnout

To Learning Objectives

LO 13.6

Ways to Improve Voter Turnout
  • Make Election Day a Holiday
  • Enable Early Voting
  • Permit Mail and Online Voting
  • Make Registration Easier
  • Modernize the Ballot
  • Strengthen Parties