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Government - Unit 7, Chapter 7: The Electoral Process

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Zach White

on 10 August 2016

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Transcript of Government - Unit 7, Chapter 7: The Electoral Process

Chapter 7: The Electoral Process
The Nominating Process
5 ways to nominate...
The Administration of Elections
Money and Elections
All of you know what this process is because you go through it every year...
When you select class officers and stuco members you go through the nomination process. Of course, those who run for public office follow a little bit different process but it is fairly similar.
The Caucus
The Convention
The Direct Primary
Oldest form of the nominating process in American politics.
In modern politics this usually only happens when a candidate couldn't get the major parties nomination.
A caucus is a group of like-minded people who meet to select the candidates they will support in an upcoming election.
They were used quite frequently in the colonial period and early on in our history. Caucus's were even used to nominate Presidential candidates up to 1824.
Some states and localities still use them today but they are criticized for their closed, unrepresentative nature.
As the caucus model collapsed conventions took their place.
The Convention model was followed from about 1832 to about the 1910's.
At conventions, leaders of the party would nominate and vote for the candidate of their choosing.
Direct primaries are held in every state to pick that party's candidates for the general election.
Primaries are regulated by the States...so each State gets to set their own rules, election dates, etc.
Two kinds of direct primaries
Closed Primary
Open Primary
Only declared party members can vote in the nominating election.
Republicans vote in Republican primaries
Democrats vote in Democratic primaries
ANY qualified voter can cast a ballot in a party's nominating election.
Republicans and Democrats can choose which primary they vote in.
Which system do you like better?
Which is more democratic?
What are the positives and negatives of each?
Minor party and independent candidates usually have to follow this process in order to get on the ballot.
These requirements are set by the state or local government.
When candidates are nominated by petition it means that they collected enough signatures from qualified voters.
This process is only used for small and medium sized communities and for minor or independent candidates.
Remember THIS is the system we use today!
It is vitally important that democratic elections are "free and fair."
Many feel like elections are too complicated, too legalistic, etc. but elections are set up the way they are to insure their fairness, accuracy, and honesty.
Most election law is in the United States is State law not federal law...but the Constitution give some power in crafting election law.
Congressional and Presidential elections are set by Congress to be on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November.
Congress also requires the use of secret ballots.
Early Voting
Absentee voting is a process by which a voter can vote without actually going to their polling place on election day. About 20 million voters voted this way for the 2004 Presidential election!
Precincts are voting districts. These are the smallest geographic units used for the conduct of elections.
All states restrict precincts size...usually they can only be big enough to include about 1,000 people and are not allowed to be any bigger than that.
Within each precinct is a polling place where voters who live in a precinct actually cast their ballot. Each polling place is located within or very near the precinct.
Polling places are usually open from 7 or 8 a.m. to 7 or 8 p.m. and there are poll watchers who make sure nothing shady happens...
When you vote you cast a ballot...this is the device by which a voter registers a choice in an election.
Two Ballot Formats
Office-Group Ballot
Party-Column Ballot
Highlights the office rather than the party
Encourages split-ticket voting
Highlights party rather than the office
Encourages straight-ticket voting
One of the big innovations in voting in the last decade is automated voting in which ballots are cast and counted on some type of voting machine, increasingly an electronic voting device.
Which ballot do you think is better?
One of the innovations that could occur sometime soon is online voting...
What would be some of the benefits of online voting?
How about the drawbacks of it?
I want you to write a four to six sentence paragraph about either the closed or open primary system. I want you to write about how democratic the open or closed primary system is.
Why do people give?
Super PAC's
NO limits on spending
or contributions
Weak disclosure requirements
Limits on contributions
Disclosure requirements
Citizen's United Supreme Court Case
Electing the President
A quick overview of the Electoral College...
The Constitution provides for the election of the President by the electoral college, in which each State has as many electors as it has member of Congress...
2 Senators
6 Electoral Votes for Kansas
4 Representatives
Electors are chosen by the state's political parties...Democrats choose 6 electors for Kansas, Republicans choose 6 electors for Kansas.
Then on election day the party who wins the popular vote in that state for President also wins for electors...so if the Republican candidate for President wins in Kansas then the electors the Republican state party selected will be Kansas' electors.
Whichever candidate wins a majority of electoral votes (270) wins the election.
The electoral college is set up so that the winner of the popular vote of the entire nation could lose the election...this has happened four times in our history. Most recently in 2000 when Gore received 537,179 more votes than Bush but lost the election.
One of the big reasons for this is the winner-take-all component of the electoral college system. Bush won Florida by only .01% of the vote (537 votes) for the entire state BUT received all 25 electoral votes.
If neither candidate gets a majority the election will be decided by the U.S. House of Representatives, not the popular vote.
All that being said, the popular vote and the electoral college vote usually reflect the same result...and most see the electoral college as a "rubber stamp" of the popular vote.
Silence from 1:43 to 1:45
Silence from 6:42 - 6:44
The Election
Explanation of the Electoral College:
So what are the flaws in the Electoral College?
The most common flaws cited by political theorists, politicians, and others include:
The winner-take-all format...
Electors are not bound to the results of their state (so the electors could actually vote for whoever they wanted to)...
A strong third party could keep any candidate from gaining the 270 electoral votes needed to win the Presidency...
The popular vote doesn't decide the election so the Electoral College system is an example of indirect democracy...
The National Popular Vote Plan
Each State would need to change their Constitution to bind their electors votes to the National Popular vote.
The District Plan
Each district (U.S. House of Representatives district) would receive one vote and electors would be chosen by the voters of that district.
The Proportional Plan
Each presidential candidate would receive the same share of a State's electoral vote as he or she received in the State's popular vote.
If a state had 10 electoral votes and the vote was 60/40 then the electoral votes are split 6/4.
Direct Popular Election
The popular vote decides the election.
Every state has 2 senators!
This is based on population!
A Political Action Committee (PAC) is a committee formed by business, labor, or other special-interest groups to raise money and make contributions to the campaigns of political candidates whom they support.
A Super-PAC is a type of independent political action committee which may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, and individuals but is not permitted to contribute to or coordinate directly with parties or candidates.
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