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Chapter Nine Voting, Elections and Campaigns. How Do We Vote. Straight-Ticket Voting Party-Centered Voting Split-Ticket Voting Candidate-Centered Voting Issue Voting Prospective Voting Retrospective Voting. Election Process. Party Nomination

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how do we vote
How Do We Vote
  • Straight-Ticket Voting
    • Party-Centered Voting
  • Split-Ticket Voting
    • Candidate-Centered Voting
  • Issue Voting
    • Prospective Voting
    • Retrospective Voting

Election Process

Party Nomination

Process that each party goes through to decide which candidate will represent their party in the general election. Generally called the PRIMARY.

General Election

Process in which the candidate from each party compete against each other. Winner of this process wins the office.


The Nomination Process is Different

For Congress & The President

Congressional Nomination Process is a series 435 different elections processes (each district has their own set of primaries). The person winning a PLURALITYof their party’s votes receives their party nomination. A handful of states require that election winners must receive a majority of the votes cast.


Presidential Nomination Process is a series of 50+ separate contests in which the person winning a MAJORITYof their party’s delegates receives their party nomination.



After EACH party(and there are more than just two parties) has nominated their candidate the nominated candidates face off in the GENERAL ELECTION. As previously noted, the winner of the GENERAL ELECTION is the person who will then become the elected official.

primary election
Primary Election

An election by which each party selects the ONE candidate that will

Represent their party in the general election.

The winner of this election simply gets to represent their party in the

General election, they DO NOT win the right to hold any elected office.

Three types of primaries

  • Closed
  • Modified Open
  • Open
closed primaries
Closed Primaries

Primaries in which members must declare a party (be a registered

member of that party) , and by doing so they are limited to voting

ONLY in their party’s primary

This type of primary prevents independents from voting.

New York, Florida and Pennsylvania are some of the states that

use this type of primary.

modified open primaries
Modified Open Primaries

These are primaries in which independents can vote in either (but not

both) party’s primary. They simply ask for which ballot they want.

Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon are some states that use

primary method.

open primaries
Open Primaries

In these primaries individuals may request a ballot for either party.

Individuals no not register as a member of any party.

Missouri uses the OPEN PRIMARY method.

The type of primary that is used can greatly influence the outcome

of some primary contests.


2000 Primaries and Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

congressional elections
Congressional Elections


The person currently holding an office.

Open Seat

A Congressional election in which there


Safe Seat

A Congressional district that is certain to vote for the candidate of one party.


The Election of Members of Congress

US Senate

  • Currently 100 Members – 2 from each state
  • Term is 6 years
  • 1/3 (approx. 33) up for re-election every 2 years
    • The Class (I, II & III)of the Senator determines when they are up
    • For re-election.
  • Until passage of the 17th Amendment in 1913 Senators were in-directly elected.
  • Members must be at least 30 years old.

US House of Representatives

  • Currently 435 Members – Number from each state based on population
  • Term is 2 years
  • All 435 up for re-election every 2 years
  • Members of the House of Reps were always directly elected.
  • Members must be at least 25 years old.
smsp electoral system
SMSP Electoral System


  • Each election that is held has ONE winner that is elected to represent
  • the whole district.
      • also known as “winner takes all.”

Simple Plurality

  • In the majority of all states the winner of all elections is the candidate
  • that receives a pluralityof the votes cast.
      • Majority is 50.1% of the votes cast.
      • Plurality is getting more votes than anyone else.
congressional job approval
Congressional Job Approval

As the image to the left demonstrates, Americans do not usually have a high level of confidence in or approval for the job being done by the

U.S. Congress.

running for re election
Running for Re-election

When a member of Congress chooses to run for re-election, they win an overwhelming percent of the time.

Since WWII approximatley 92% of all House of Rep. incumbents, that run for re-election, win re-election. Incumbent members of the Senate have won 78% of the time.

Can we explain how/why this happens, especially in light of the information presented on the previous slide dealing with

Congressional Job Approval.

congressional job approval revisited
Congressional Job Approval Revisited.

As was demonstrated on a previous slide, the American people put very little confidence in the job that Congress as a whole is doing. But, when we ask Americans how their individual member of Congress is doing we find that most have a much higher regard for the job THEIR MEMBER is doing.



The Election of The President of the United States

The Party Nomination Process

  • A detailed explanation of the presidential nomination process is provided in the
  • Power Point Presentation entitled “Nominating Presidential Candidates: A Public
  • Process Conducted By Private Parties.”
  • You are responsible for viewing this presentation.

The General Election Process

  • In order to be elected president you must be at least 25 years old.
  • Presidents serve 4 year terms with a maximum of 2 full terms or 10 years.
  • The president is elected by the ELECTORAL COLLEGE, an indirect process
  • in which individuals cast votes but they do no directly elect the president.
  • The following slides will describe the ELECTORAL COLLEGE PROCESS.
presidential general election
Presidential General Election

Once each party has identified the person that will be their nominee

the general election campaign begins.

It is the winner of this election that will become the

President of the United States.

The general election is always held on the

first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Originally, the President would be the person that won the majority

of the votes in the ELECTORAL COLLEGE, and the Vice-President

would be the person that won the second most.

(This was changed with the passage of the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1804)

electoral college
Electoral College

The electoral college is a method of indirectly electing the President

And Vice-President of the United States.

It is based on the idea that the registered voters of each state will

elect ELECTORS (members of the Electoral College).

electoral college cont
Electoral College (Cont.)

Those electors then meet in their respective State Capitals in early December to cast their Vote in two separate elections for President & Vice-President.


Certificate of

Votes for President

And Vice-President

Is signed by the

State Sec. of State

and it is sent to the

U.S. Senate.

electoral college cont1
Electoral College (Cont.)

On January 6th, the President of the Senate opens each of the “CERTIFICATES” from each state, reads and counts the votes.

The individual receiving the absolute majority of the electoral votes,

currently 270 of 538, for president becomes president and the

individual receiving the absolute majority of the electoral votes

For vice-resident becomes vice president.

current electoral vote distribution
Current Electoral Vote Distribution

The number of electoral votes each state has is based on the number

of members of Congress that they have.

For example:

Missouri has 9 members of the U.S. House of Representatives


Two (2) members of the U.S. Senate.

Therefore, the State of Missouri has a total of

eleven (11) ELECTORAL VOTES.



It can change every 10 years when Congress reapportions the seats

based on the U.S. Census.

California gained 8 electoral votes between 1981 and 2001

New York lost 5 electoral votes between 1981 and 2001

the of the electoral college 1981 2001
The +/- of the Electoral College(1981 – 2001)

Notice where the gains and

Losses have been:


– The old Steel Belt

-- “Rust Belt”

-- “Old” Country

-- Democratic Areas


– The Sun Belt

-- Border States

-- “New” Country

-- Republican Areas