govt 2301 ch 10 review

govt 2301 ch 10 review - & Elections in America Popular...

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&&&& Elections in America Popular selection of public officials in competitive elections is the essence of democracy. However, in recent decades many Americans have not bothered to vote, and some of our electoral practices seem inconsistent with equality. While our current system clearly favors wealthy individuals and groups, promoting equality may require limiting freedom of expression. I. What functions do elections serve in the political process? Elections in democratic nations allow for opposition to compete against and even replace current officeholders. Authoritarian regimes use elections to mobilize popular enthusiasm for the government, persuade foreigners that the government is legitimate, and allow an outlet for discontent. Elections also promote leadership accountability, because the threat of defeat at the polls exerts pressure on those in government to conduct themselves in a responsible manner. II. What different types of elections are held in the United States? What rules determine who wins elections? Three types of elections are held in the United States: primary elections, general elections, and runoff elections. Some states also provide for referendum and recall voting. Most European nations employ an electoral system that uses proportional representation. American elections are either plurality (general elections) or absolute majority (primaries with runoffs). III. How does the government determine the boundaries of electoral districts? The boundaries for congressional and state legislative districts in the United States are redrawn by the states every ten years in response to population changes determined by the decennial census. During the process of redistricting, political groups try to gerrymander the boundaries to serve their interests. The Republican Party has recently pushed for until now unusual mid-decade
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redistricting to get more Republicans in the House. The use of race to draw congressional district boundaries has been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. IV. How is the ballot determined? Before the 1890s, parties printed their own ballots and voters cast ballots along party lines. The neutral ballot allows voters to cast straight ticket or split ticket ballots. Criticism of the butterfly ballots in Florida prompted a switch to electronic ballots, which have created a new set of problems. The president is chosen by the electoral college, reflecting the framers’ mistrust of the people to choose their leader. This was designed to give Congress ultimate authority to choose the president. However, since the rise of two main parties, one candidate has received the majority of the electoral college votes and no presidential election since 1824 has been decided in the House. Election Campaigns
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This note was uploaded on 10/13/2010 for the course GOV 4w004 taught by Professor Lolly during the Fall '10 term at Lone Star College System.

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govt 2301 ch 10 review - & Elections in America Popular...

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