my lecture notes - exam 2 - Lecture 1 Chapter 7 Political...

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Lecture 1 September 28, 2005 Chapter 7:  Political Participation and Voting:  Expressing the Popular Will   Voting is the most outward expression of political participation.   Participation is the involvement by people intended to influence public policy and leadership.   Public policy - the final result of government action.   The legislatures make laws but it doesn’t mean anything until it gets put into public policy.   How do you translate public opinion into public policy?  Through voting.   Democracy makes demands on its citizens on the form of participation, but most people don't  vote.  But, the people who do vote usually don't know much about it.   Voters need to be informed in a democracy, and that takes time and effort.   Weak public opinion or weak public participation increases the strength of special interest groups  and the wealthy elite.   Participation is the essential link between public opinion and public policy in a republic.   Suffrage is the legal right to vote.     What is the most basic link between the people and their government in a democracy? The vote.   The 3 primary variables of who votes in America are the age, income, and education.  Also  known as the socioeconomic status.   Women tend to be much more compassionate about things when they vote.   Whites vote the most out of all people.  Our minorities have been historically poorer in this  country, and that is why they don't vote as much as the whites.   26th amendment - got 18 year olds the right to vote.   Participation was originally intended for landowners.    
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The constitution left all the voting laws and election procedures to the states and it is still that way  today.  We don't have national elections, we elect the president through 50 separate state  elections.   Initially, property ownership was required to vote.  By 1840, all the states had eliminated the  property ownership.  By 1860, all white men had the right to vote. 1870 - the 15th amendment - slaves got the right to vote.   Jim Crow laws, barriers to voting - the southern states kept the blacks from voting (literacy tests,  poll taxes)   Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s changed the way we live life today.  The federal government finally  got involved.  The government was going to make sure that there was no gerrymandering going  on.  They got into the business of how we regulate the lines.
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