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Voters and Voter Behavior. A . The Constitution & the Right to Vote. Suffrage Franchise Electorate B . Voter Qualifications. “now tell me, which was the voter, the man or the jackass?”. Long-term trends.

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Presentation Transcript
a the constitution the right to vote
A. The Constitution & the Right to Vote
  • Suffrage
  • Franchise
  • Electorate
b voter qualifications
B. Voter Qualifications

“now tell me, which was the voter, the man or the jackass?”

long term trends
Long-term trends
  • Gradual elimination of a number of restrictions on the right to vote, based on religious belief, property ownership, tax payment, race, sex, and literacy
  • A significant share of what was originally the States’ power over the right to vote has been assumed by the federal government
    • Early 1800s: religious qualifications & property ownership requirements disappeared
    • Post Civil War: 15th Amendment (race)
    • 1920: 19th Amendment (gender)
    • 1960s: 23rd Amendment(DC), 24th Amendment(poll tax), Voting Rights Act(65)
    • 1971: 26th Amendment (age 18)
constitutional restrictions on state voting laws
Constitutional Restrictions on State Voting Laws

Any person whom a State allows to vote for members of the “most numerous branch” of its own legislature must also be allowed to vote for representatives and senators in Congress.

No State can deprive any person of the right to vote “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude”

No State can require the payment of any tax as condition for taking part in the nomination or election of any federal officeholder.

No State can deprive any person of the right to vote on account of sex

No State can deprive any person who is at least 18 years of age of the right to vote because of age

citizenship residence age
Citizenship, Residence & Age
  • Citizenship
  • Residence: most states require that a person live within the State for at least some period of time in order to qualify to vote
  • Age
  • Others?
    • Registration: process of voter identification – prospective voters must provide name, age, place of birth, present address, length of residence… to county clerks
who cannot vote
Who cannot vote?

Varies by state

People in mental institutions

Those convicted of a felony

Those dishonorably discharged from the military



The practice of drawing the lines of electoral districts in order to limit the voting strength of a particular group or party

c nonvoters idiots
C. Nonvoters… Idiots!

Idiotes: citizens who did not vote or otherwise take part in public life; they were ignorant of public affairs

d voters
D. Voters
  • Who votes?
    • Those with higher levels of income, education & occupational status
    • They are usually well integrated into community life
    • They tend to be long-time residents of their community
    • They are likely to have strong party identification

Sociological Factors

    • Income, occupation
    • Education
    • Gender, age
    • Religious, ethnic background
  • Psychological Factors
    • Party identification
      • Straight ticket voting
      • Split ticket voting
    • Candidates & issues
voter id laws
Voter ID Laws