AP Government- Elections and Campaigns

Define Suffrage
-Right to vote
-Fundamental principle of democratic government
Define Universal Suffrage
-The extension of right to vote for all adult citizens
-Principe widely accepted in the U.S. today, but universal suffrage did not exist in the U.S. at the time the Constitution was written
How does the Constitution address suffrage?
-Leaves voter eligibility to states but specifies that all voters qualified to vote for the largest house state legislature can vote for House of Representatives
-When Constitution was written, all states restricted voting to white male property owners
How was suffrage expanded before Civil War?
-Suffrage has been gradually extended since the founding of the U.S.
-Property ownership and payment of taxes were gradually eliminated as requirements to vote state by state between 1800 and the Civil War
How was suffrage expanded after Civil War?
-Racial restrictions eliminated in 1870 with the Fifteenth Amendment
-Women were granted suffrage in 1920 with the Nineteenth Amendment
-Minimum age for voting lowered to 18 in 1971 with the Twenty-Sixth Amendment
Define Fifteenth Amendment
-Guarantees right to vote to all races
-Passed in 1870, shortly after Civil War, to prevent states from making laws keeping freed slaves from voting
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Define Nineteenth Amendment
-Extends the right to vote to women
-Enacted in 1920 as a result of Woman Suffrage Movement
Define Woman Suffrage Movement
-Organized in mid 19th century to gain right to vote for women
-First success: Wyoming Territory grants right to vote to women
-Final Success: Nineteenth Amendment in 1920 which granted women suffrage throughout the U.S.
Define Twenty-Sixth Amendment
-Lowered age requirement to vote to 18 in all states in 1971
-Previously each state had set its own minimum age requirement (between 18 and 21)
Define Twenty-Third Amendment
Granted suffrage in 1961 to Washington, D.C. residents in presidential elections
Define Literacy Test
-A reading test citizens were required to pass in order to vote
-Widely used in the South to discourage blacks and poor whites from voting
-Banned by the Voting Rights Act in 1956
Define Poll Tax
-A tax levied on voting
-Widely used in South to discourage blacks and poor whites from voting
-Eliminated in federal elections by the Twenty-Fourth Amendment in 1964
-Eliminated by Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections in 1965
Define Popular Vote
-Direct vote of the people
-Popular vote determines the winner of races for Congress, but not the President
Define Electorate
The voters of a nation, state, city, country, or other district referred to collectively
Define Issue/Policy Voting
-Vote on proposed laws, not candidates
-Referendums and initiatives allow direct vote of people on proposed laws or constitutional amendments
-Only exist at state level and only in some states—no referendum or initiative at federal level
Define Referendum
-Proposed law or state constitutional amendment referred by the state legislature to the people for a vote
-Result of Progressive Movement to foster more democratic government
-Only at state level, only in some states
Define At-Large
All the votes of a state or county elect their representative
Define Initiative
-Proposed state law or constitutional amendment by citizens through a petition process
-Enacted by majority vote of people; Result of Progressive Movement to foster more democratic government
-Only at state level, only in some states
Define Candidate Voting
-Voting for a candidate to represent the district rather than voting directly on an issue or policy
-Most U.S. elections are candidate elections
-Voting for candidates is most common form of political participation in U.S.
What ways can people participate in elections?
-Voting
-Campaigning (talking to voters, registering voters, etc.)
-Contributing money
-Running for office
Define Sampling Error
Percentage of possible errors in the polling process
What are the two types (or “rounds”) of elections?
Primary Election and General Election
Define Primary Election
-Election in which voters choose their party’s candidates for offices, also known as “direct primary”
-Result of Progressive Movement which made government more democratic
-All states now use primary elections to choose candidates for state offices
What are the types of Primary Elections?
-Closed Primary: Only voters registered in the party may vote in a party’s primary
-Open Primary: Votes choose which party’s primary ballot they want
-Blanket Primary: Only one ballot so voters may for candidate of either party and split votes between parties
Define Front-Loading
Choosing an early date to hold the primary election
Define General Election
-Election in which candidates for elective offices are selected
-General elections for federal offices are held first Tuesdays after first Monday of November in even-numbered years
-Most states combine federal and state general elections
Define Run-off Election
-Election between top 2 winners held when no candidate receives a majority
-Most states select winners based on a plurality, not a majority, so no run-off is necessary
What is the difference between Majority and Plurality in relation to elections?
-Majority is more than half the votes
-Plurality is the number of votes obtained by the leading candidate, although it may not be a majority
-Most elections require a plurality vote, but a few states have run-off elections when no candidate wins a majority
Define Special Election
-An election outside the regular schedule of elections
-Called when an office (such as a U.S. senator) is vacant due to death or resignation and must be filled mid-term
-Can also be called to vote on referendum, initiative, or recall effort
Define Nonpartisan Elections
-Elections in which candidates have no party affiliation identified on the ballot
-Some states use nonpartisan elections to select judges
-Only Louisiana holds nonpartisan elections for members of Congress
Define Mid-Term or Off-Year Election
-Federal election held in the middle of the President’s term of office
-All congressmen/women and 1/3 of senators are elected in each mid-term election
-President’s party generally looses seats in Congress in mid-term elections
Coattail Effect
-When the popularity of the victorious president candidate helps his party’s candidates for Congress win as well
-Not a factor in mid-term elections since President is not on the ballot
Define Recall Election
-Special election initiated by petition that allows citizens to remove an official before his/her term has expired
-If recall is successful, another special election is held to elect a successor
-Used in some states only—not an option for President or Congress
Define Progressive Movement
-Reform movement of late 19th and early 20th centuries that sought to make government more democratic
-The referendum, initiative, direct primary, and recall election are results of the Progressive Movement
What are Federal Election Laws?
-Set uniform date for elections in all states for federal offices
-Other election issues, including voter registration procedures and the voting process, are decided by state laws
What are State Election Laws?
-Each state makes its own laws regarding elections, including whether or not to allowed referendums, initiatives, recall elections, direct primaries, etc.
-Considerable variation among states as to how voters register, the voting process, scheduling of elections, etc.
Define Voter Turnout
-The percentage of voting-age citizens that actually vote
-In presidential elections of 2004 and 2008, voter turnout was 64%
What are some trends in U.S. voter turnout?
-Turnout has been gradually decreasing in the U.S.
-U.S. voter turnout lower than in nearly all the world’s other democracies
What are contributing factors to low voter turnout?
-Political apathy: lack of interest
-Mistrust of government: all candidates deemed untrustworthy or unresponsive
-Lack of political efficacy: belief that their vote will not make a difference
-No perceived differences between candidates
Define Political Efficacy
-Belief that a person can influence politics and public policymaking
-Lack of political efficacy often given as one reason for low voter turnout
Define Political Apathy
-Lack of interest or concern regarding politics and policymaking
-Often given as one reason for low voter turnout in U.S.
What groups have below average voter turnout?
-Younger people, racial and ethnic minorities, males, persons with lower incomes
-2008 was first presidential election in which racial minority turnout was nearly equal to that of whites
What groups have above average voter turnout?
-Those with high levels of education and income
-Those more active in community organizations, religious institutions, labor unions
-Those with strong party identification
What is the voter registration process?
-Registration required in order to vote
-Each state determines its own voter registration process
-About 90% of registered voters voted in 2008 presidential election, but only 71% of eligible citizens were registered
What are efforts made to increase voter turnout?
-Focus on making both voter registration and voting easier
-Motor Voter Law allows citizens to register at state driver’s license offices
-Many states experimenting with extended voting period and alternative voting methods such as mail-in ballots
Define Get-Out-the-Vote movement
A campaign near the end of an election to get voters out to the polls
Define Motor Voter Law
National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires states to allow voter registration when qualified voters renew driver’s licenses or apply for social services
Define Campaign Finance
-Campaigning for federal office in U.S. is costly and increasing
-Danger: Winning candidates will be beholden to special interests that fund their campaigns
-Congress has passed campaign reform acts that attempt to limit this danger
Define Campaign Finance Reform Laws
-Series of campaign finance reforms enacted from 1971 to 2002
-Limited campaign contributions
-Required full disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures
-Established public funding of president campaigns
Define Federal Election Campaigning Act (FECA)
-1971 act requires disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures
-Limited expenditures on advertising and money a candidate could contribute to his/her own campaign—these limits were declared unconstitutional
Define Buckley v. Valeo (1976)
-Supreme Court ruled that FECA campaign spending limits and limits on the candidates’ own donations violated the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of expression
-Let stand other parts of FECA, such as limits on campaign contributions
Define Federal Election Commission (FEC)
-Independent regulatory agency founded in 1975 that enforces federal campaign finance laws
-Administers public financing of presidential campaigns
Define Political Action Committee (PAC)
-An organization created to raise campaign funds for candidate(s) for federal office—regulated by FEC
-Corporations, labor unions, interest groups cannot make direct campaign contributions, but can form a PAC to raise money for candidates
What are the limits on campaign contributions?
-Campaign contributions can be made only by individuals and PACs
-$5,000 per candidate per election limit for PACs
-$2,400 limit for individuals
-Goal: Candidates raise a little money from a lot of people, rather than a lot of money from a few special interests
Define Soft Money
-Money donated to a political party rather than candidate to avoid limits imposed by campaign finance reform laws—this loophole closed in 2002
-Since 2002, refers to money given to a 527 organization focusing on issue advocacy, not candidate advocacy
Define Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act (BCFRA)
-Also known as McCain-Feingold Act
-2002 act regulating contributions to political parties as well as candidates
-Resulted in formation of 527 political organizations, unregulated groups that focus on an issue (not a candidate) in attempt to influence an election
Define 527 Political Organizations
-Nonprofit organizations that engage in issue advocacy, not candidate advocacy—a fine line often blurred
-Not subject to limitations imposed by campaign finance reform; Attempt to influence voters, sometimes with controversial attack ads
How are presidential campaigns financed publicly?
No longer publicly funded. Persons could donate $1 of tax refund to public presidential election fund. After Citizens United case, changes to campaign finance made it so that candidates did not take public funding and the process was eliminated.
What are the limits on Campaign Fund-Raising?
-Candidates can only accept money from individuals and PACs, not interest groups, corporations, etc.
-$2,400 limitation per candidate per election for individuals, $5,000 for PACs
-Donations and expenditures must be made public
How is election of President unique?
-President (with Vice President running mate) is the only nationally elected office
-Unique process for selecting the President and Vice President, unlike other campaigns and elections
How does one begin a campaign for President?
-Set up an exploratory committee to begin lining up support and money; If things look good, announce candidacy
-Win delegates in state presidential primaries and caucuses
-Success in early primaries and caucuses is crucial
Define National Convention
-Each party holds national convention every four years to select its presidential candidate
-Composed of delegates from each state selected by state presidential preference primaries or caucuses
-Held summer prior to general election
How are delegates selected to National Convention?
-Each state determines how it will select its delegates to Democratic and Republican national conventions
-Some states select delegates through local party caucuses while others use presidential preference primaries
Define Caucuses
-Local party meetings to select delegates to state convention, which selects delegates to party’s national convention
-Caucuses open to all the party’s registered voters
-Iowa holds first presidential caucuses
Define Presidential Preference Primary
-Most states now use primaries, rather than caucuses, to select delegates to party’s national nominating convention
-New Hampshire holds first presidential preference primary
How do candidates campaign for the Presidency?
-Candidates focus on swing states with large populations (due to winter-take-all rule in Electoral College)
-Generally candidates moderate their views and move to the political center to win over a wider spectrum of voters
Define Swing States
-States that could “swing” to either the Democratic or Republican candidate in the general election
-Identified by public opinion polls and historical experience
-Candidates spend much of their time campaigning in these states
Define Popular Vote for President
-General election identifies the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote in each state
-Slate of electors pledged to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote are choose to cast the state’s votes in the Electoral College
Define Electoral College
-Sole function is to elect the President and Vice President of the U.S.
-Usually Electoral College elects candidate who won popular vote
-However, 4 times Electoral College has chosen a President who got fewer popular votes than his/her opponent
What is the make up of the Electoral College?
-538 members
-Each state is entitled to the same number of electors that is has Senators and Congressmen
-District of Columbia gets 3 electoral votes even though it has no vote in Congress
Define Winner-Take-All System
-All of a state’s electors vote as a block for winner of popular vote in the state
-Reform Proposal: Allocate electors on basis of vote in each congressional district (Nebraska does)—then Electoral College would reflect popular vote, but large states lose clout
What is the Electoral College Process?
-Presidential candidates choose slates of electors in each state; Popular vote in state decides which candidate’s electoral state wins
-Elector’s ballots counted in Congress
-Congress declares winner, or refers to House if no candidate has majority
What happens if the House of Representatives picks the President?
-If no candidate has a majority in the Electoral College, the House of Representatives elects President from top 3 candidates
-When choosing the President, each state gets one vote regardless of the number of representatives it has
What are the advantages/disadvantages of the Electoral College?
-Avoids prospect of national recount of popular vote which may take months and produce no conclusive winner
-But winner may not be the person who won the popular vote
Define Maintaining Elections
Elections that maintain the status quo regarding the balance between majority and minority parties
Define Deviating Elections
Elections in which the minority party takes power for a short period, but there is no long-term realignment that makes the minority party the majority party
Define Realigning Elections
-Critical elections that change existing patterns of party loyalty, usually a result of a watershed event like the Great Depression in 1932 or the Civil War in 1860
-Minority party becomes the new majority party and a new governing coalition is formed