voting - CHAPTER 5 CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS Voters Why Vote?...

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CHAPTER 5 CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS
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Voters  Why Vote? From the perspective of the  individual , voting may not  seem logical, but many people vote nonetheless  because they have been taught that it is their duty to  do so. Candidates  must remember that each individual voter  has his or her own motivations, ideology, and hopes  for the future. From the perspective of the  political system , voting is  crucial because it legitimizes the government,  decreases alienation and opposition, influences public  policy, and, when done on a large scale, insures  against dishonesty in elections. Although one vote almost never matters, democracy  depends upon each citizen acting as if it does.
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Voters  Suffrage The expansion of the right to vote has been one of the most important  historical developments in American politics. The U.S. Constitution originally delegated to the states the power  to determine voter eligibility in all elections and restrictions on  suffrage were widespread. Because states generally restricted the suffrage to adult white  male property owners who professed a certain religious belief,  only about five percent of the almost four million people counted in  the first national census in 1790 were eligible to vote. Since the beginning of the 19th century, restrictions on voting have  been gradually removed. Church membership and property ownership were removed as  qualifications for voting in the 1820s and 1830s. The Civil War Amendments were enacted to guarantee full  political rights to freed slaves, but the Southern states reacted  with legal (and illegal) restrictions that were not lifted until  Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in 1965. The 19th Amendment enfranchised women in 1920 and the  26th Amendment (1971) lowered the minimum voting age to  18.
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Voters Suffrage, cont. Several things stand out in the history of the  evolution of voting. In the U.S. voting rights have been substantially  nationalized as states, when enacting voting laws, must  now stay within guidelines established by the U.S.  Constitution, Congress, and the Supreme Court. Southern states, including Texas, attempted to evade  and obstruct the post-Civil War amendments and, later,  the Voting Rights Act, resulting in lower voting turnouts in  the South than in the North. The federal government gradually defeated these  antidemocratic schemes so that by the mid 1970s all  adult Ameri-cans had the legal right to vote.
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Voters  Registration The Purposes of  Voter Registration Every political system has a system of registration to distinguish 
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This note was uploaded on 03/26/2008 for the course POLS 207 taught by Professor Peterson during the Fall '07 term at Texas A&M.

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voting - CHAPTER 5 CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS Voters Why Vote?...

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