Unformatted text preview: Voting and Elections Political Participation Democracy voting discussing political issues writing letters campaign contributions join interest groups politics of protest Participation Paradox elections define democracy individual votes do not count mechanism for accountability (presidential election) Paradox people vote for other reasons Who votes? Demographic variables: education income age can affect politics strong party identification variables used who will vote look for differences (race, ethnicity) political efficacy the feeling that one Voting in Texas Qualifications: U.S. citizen at least 18 years of age resident of state and county Excluded: "mentally incompetent" pardon Felons civil rights not restored by 2 calendar years from completion of the sentence Voter turnout proportion of eligible Americans who vote declined since 1960 1996 50% turnout 18 to 24 year olds least likely to vote Reasons for decline in voter turnout: 26th Amendment 18 year olds can vote decline in party identification decline in political efficacy Historical Texas Reasons for low voter turnout in Texas barriers to exclude numerous groups poll tax payment of tax to vote (adopted in 1920) excluded poor 1966 Court case (U.S. vs. Texas) held unconstitutional White primary Blacks excluded from voting in primary elections 1944 Court Case (Smith vs. Albright) gave Blacks right to vote Military vote 1965 Court Case (Carrington vs. Rash) military have full suffrage rights in Texas Long residence requirement 1972 Court case (Dunn vs. Blumstein) Supreme Court ruled to abolish requirements Property ownership for bond elections series of court cases abolished requirement Voting turnout low due to past history of state Barriers now removed State voting turnout still low Factors in Voting Socioeconomic factors low income levels low educational levels high minority levels Political structure length of ballot candidates in popular ballot referendums constitutional amendments municipal, school board, bond and specialdistrict Political culture political values and beliefs dominant in society 3 subcultures: moralistic traditional individualistic moralistic culture Protestant era (New England) discussion of public issues a right and opportunity traditionalistic culture plantation society of Deep South politics for the social and economic elite views political participation as a privilege individualistic culturemiddle Atlantic, south and west of Ohio River blurs distinction between economic and political life conflicts of interests commonplace business interests play strong role running for office difficult without support of business Texas mix of traditionalistic (East Texas) and individualistic(rest of state) participation in politics not highly regarded politics is domain of business interests Low voter turnout in Texas because do not value act of political participation small role to play in politics Elections in Texas Party nomination in primary election Democratic party Republican party Win general election against other party nominee Primary elections History of corruption, inefficiency, and inadequacy caucus "insider politics" 1828 reform caucus replaced by convention system selecting delegates to nominate Wrote party platform 1890 more reform due to more backroom politics direct primary selection of a candidate to represent party in general election 1903 Terrell Election Law enacted Texas holds first direct primary in 1906 1973 Texas Election Code party receiving 20% of the gubernatorial vote must hold a primary all other parties must use the convention system new political parties more requirements to run in general election used to discourage creation of new political parties Financing primaries 1971 funded by state treasury state and county executive committees expend $ secretary of state reimburses expenses filing fees Administering primaries County primaries receive applications, filing fees, determine order of names on ballot (through drawing) certify ballot select election judge for each voting precinct select voting devices (paper ballots, voting machines, punch cards) Arrange for polling places arrange for printing canvas votes and certify results State primaries political parties receive applications for state offices drawings for order of names certify ballot to the countylevel officials canvas election returns after primary Dual primaries runoff primary if no candidate receives majority (50% + 1) of popular vote candidates receiving most votes are in runoff Open/closed primaries open primary voters decide at the polls in which primary they will participate closed primary*** primary voter is morally bound to vote only in declared party's elections cannot switch parties and participate in the runoff election or convention of any other party Declaring party affiliation at time you register to vote can change parties within 30 days of primary or convention "independents" cannot vote in primaries and conventions Crossover voting Texas Democrats vote Republican in general election and Democratic in state elections Republican party purity Types of ballots Partycolumn ballot candidates listed by party affiliation Office block ballot candidates listed by office Australian ballot secret ballot to protect integrity of election system General Elections choice of competing political party nominees national, state, county official public elections to determine who will take office Decided by plurality vote one vote more than the other opponents wins election Special elections Special emergency needs ratification of constitutional amendment filling vacant offices Election Campaigns in Texas Who gets elected? Local levels more diversity educational background income profession State level more homogeneous traditionally white, Protestant males more recently more diversity women and minorities in elected office General Election At state level 2 factors dominate who gets elected party identification (Democrat, Republican) incumbency and name recognition Other variables: mobilizing groups to vote interests aligned with political party businesses (Republicans), teachers (Democrats) winning minorities' votes Choosing issues party affiliation opinion polls for policy positions polling fundamental Campaign trail "taking the stump" travelling to speak with diverse groups use of media TV, radio, newspapers political consultants negative campaigning can provide voters with information Money in Political Campaigns Where does $ come from? "big money" from PAC's Small individual contributions represent big business, professional associations loans from banks and wealthy friends Where does the money go? Traditional campaigns Newspapers, radio, billboards, bumper stickers, yard signs, phone banks becoming more professionalized political consultants image public opinion pollsters direct mail campaigns to targeted areas Texas campaign laws Official campaign treasurer is appointed Cash contributions for less than $100 required to file sworn financial statements to the Texas secretary of state's office Both criminal and civil penalties imposed for violations and enforced Texas Ethics Committee No limits on the amount candidate's can spend contributions through PAC's soft money laws make it difficult to limit campaign spending Web sites www.sos.state.tx.us www.texasgop.org www.lwvtexas.org www.txdemocrats.org ...
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- Spring '08
- Democracy, General election, Voting system, Low voter turnout, primaries County primaries