AP Government Chapter 5: Voting and Elections Flashcards

Presidential Elections
Terms Definitions
Forms of Political Participation
voting in elections, discussing politics and attending political meetings, forming interest groups and PACs, contacting public officials, campaigning for a candidate or political party, contributing money, running for office, protesting government decisions, most common form is voting
Unconventional Behaviors
most times, behaviors seem conventional, less conventional behaviors are used when groups have felt powerless and ineffective, used in the Vietnam Conflict, violent-protests, single verbal gaffe can cause problems for a candidate
democratic government is "government by the people", participation in election is the basis of the democratic process, everyone should be allowed to vote, no nation grants universal suffrage, all nations have requirements for voting
the right to vote, a political right that belongs to all those who meet certain requirements set by law, US was first nation to provide general elections of representatives through mass suffrage, issue of suffrage is left to the states, Article I, Section 2 is that individuals who could vote for "the most numerous branch of the state legislature" could vote for their Congressional representatives
composition has changed throughout the history, two major trends have marked the development of suffrage: the elimination of a number of restrictive requirements and the transfer or more and more authority from the states to the federal government
Changes in Voting Requirements
elimination of religious qualifications, property ownership, and tax payments after 1800, elimination of race disqualifications with the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, elimination of gender disqualifications with the 19th amendment in 1920, elimination of grandfather clauses, white primaries, and literacy requirements with the passage of federal civil rights legislation and court decisions, allowing residents of Washington D.C. to vote in presidential elections with the passage of the 23rd amendment, allowing residents of D.C. to vote in elections with 23rd amendment, elimination of poll taxes in federal elections with the passage of 24th amendment, lowering the minimum age for voting in federal elections to 18 with the passage of the 26th amendment in 1971
Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections
1966 all poll taxes were ruled unconstitutional
Progressive Movement
reform effort, generally centered in urban areas and begun in the early 1900s, whose aims included returning control of the government to the people, restoring economic opportunities, and correcting injustices in American life
Direct Primary
allows citizens to nominate candidates
a special election initiated by petition to allow citizens to remove an official from office before a term expires
allows citizens to vote directly on issues called propositions
allows voters to petition to propose issues to be decided by qualified voters
Candidate Voting
voting is most common form of political participation, allows citizens to choose candidates they think will best serve their interests and make public officials accountable for their actions, US voters only elect two national office holders, all remaining candidates represent state or local constituencies
Low Voter Turnout
voting has been studied very closely, shown that voter turnout in the United States has decreased when compared with other nations and when compared with the US over time, turnout is higher if the election is important, higher in presidential elections than in off-year elections
Expansion of the electorate
increase in the number of potential votes (26th amendment)
Failure of Political Parties to Mobilize Voters
negative campaigning, numerous elections, frequent elections, lack of party identification
No Perceived Differences between Candidates or Parties
both parties and their candidates are seen as virtually the same
Mistrust of Government
a belief that all candidates are untrustworthy or unresponsive, due in part to the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals
a lack of interest in politics; a belief that voting is not important
Satisfaction with the Way Things Are
a belief that not voting will keep the status quo
Lack of Political Efficacy
people do not believe their vote out of millions of votes will make a difference
Mobility of Electorate
moving around leads to a lack of social belonging
Registration Process
differences in registration procedures from state to state may create barriers
National Voter Registration Act of 1995
Motor Voter Law, designed to make voter registration easier by allowing people to register at drivers' license bureaus and some public offices
the higher the level of education, the more likely a person is to vote, most important indicator of voting behavior
Occupation and Income
often depend on education level, those with white-collar jobs and high levels of income are more likely to vote than those with blue-collar jobs or lower levels of income
older people are more likely to vote than younger people
minorities such as African Americans and Hispanics are less likely to vote than whites, unless they have similar socioeconomic status
today women are more likely to vote than men
those who are more active within their religion are more likely to vote than those who do not attend religious services, or rarely attend
Marital Status
married people are more likely to vote than those who are not married
Union Membership
unions encourage participation, and union members tend to vote regularly
Community Membership
people who are well integrated into community life are more likely to vote than those who have moved recently
Party Identification
those who have a strong sense of party identification are more likely to vote
residents of states with interparty competition and close elections may be more likely to vote than those who live in states with one-party domination
Primary Elections
nominating elections in which voters choose the candidates from each party who will run for office in the general election
Closed Primary
only voters who are registered in the party may vote to choose the candidate, separate are held for each political party
Open Primary
voters may vote to choose the candidates of either party, whether they belong to that party or not, voters make the decision of which party to support in the voting booth
Blanket Primary
voters may vote for candidates of either party, choosing a Republican for one office and a Democrat for another; use only in Alaska and Washington
Runoff Primary
when no candidate from a party receives a majority of the votes, the top two candidates face each other in a runoff
General Elections
elections in which the voters choose from among all the candidates nominated by political parties or running as independents
Special Elections
held whenever an issue must be decided by voters before a primary or general election is held, to fill a vacancy in the Senate
When Elections are Held
local, state, and federal laws determine when elections are held, Congress has established that congressional and presidential elections will be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, Congressional elections are held every even-numbered year and presidential elections are held every fourth year
Off-Year Elections
"mid-term elections", occur during the year when no presidential election is held, voter turnout in off-year elections is generally lower than during presidential election years, during presidential election years, popularity may create a coattail effect
Coattail Effect
allowing lesser-known or weaker candidates from the presidential candidate's party to win by riding the "coattails" of the nominee
individuals must determine whether they have enough political and financial support to win against other possible candidates, often a possible nominee will form an exploratory committee to begin lining up support and finances, as well as to attract media coverage and gain recognition
once a candidate has decided to run, an announcement is generally made in a press conference, announcement is a formal declaration that the candidate is seeking the party's nomination
Presidential Primaries and Caucuses
state party officials would meet in a caucus to endorse the party candidate prior to presidential primaries, abuses led many states to abandoning its use, Iowa still uses caucuses to nominate presidential candidates
Presidential Preference Primary
a primary election that allows voters in the party to vote directly for candidates seeking their party's presidential nomination, used by most states
Nominating Conventions
each political party holds a convention in the summer prior to the general election, composed of delegates from each state, with each party determining its method of selecting delegates, purpose is to choose the party's presidential and vice-presidential nominees, write the party platform, and bring unity to the party in support of their chosen nominees
Campaigning and the General Election
after the conventions are over, each candidate begins campaigning for the general election, travel to swing states and appear more moderate in an effort to win the largest possible number of votes, face each other in televised debates, election is then held to determine which candidate wins the electoral college vote for that state
Electoral College
when voters go to the polls they are casting the popular vote, vote is actually for electors, each state has a number of electors equal to its senators and representatives in Congress, 538 electors known as the electoral college, electors meet in their respective state capitals on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, candidate who wins a majority of popular votes in a state in the general election wins all the state's electoral votes in the electoral college, although the electors are not required to vote for their party's candidate, only rarely do they cast a vote for someone else, votes cast are then sent to Congress, where they are opened and counted before a joint session, candidate who receives a majority wins, if not majority is receive, House of Representatives chooses winner from the top three candidates
Maintaining Elections
occur when the traditional majority power maintains power based on the party loyalty of voters
Deviating Elections
occur when the minority party is able to win with the support of majority-party members, independents, and new voters; however, the long-term party preferences of voters do not change
Critical Elections
indicate sharp changes in existing patterns of party loyalty due to changing social and economic conditions, for example, elections of 1860, 1896, and 1932
Realigning Elections
occur when the minority party wins by building a new coalition of voters that continues over successive elections, usually associated with a national crisis such as the Great Depression
Dealigning Elections
occur when party loyalty becomes less important to voters, as may be seen with the increase in independents and split-ticket voting
Federal Election Campaign Act
passed by Congress in 1971, restricting the amount of campaign funds that can be spent on advertising, requiring disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures, limiting the amounts candidates and their families can donate to their own campaigns, allowed taxpayers to designate a donation on their tax return to the major political party candidates, restricted the amount of campaign funds that could be spent on a single election
Federal Election Commission
established to enforce the act, and established public financing for presidential candidates in primaries and the general election, measure also restricted contributions by prohibiting foreign contributions, limiting individual contributions, and restricting the formation of PACs and their contributions
Buckley v. Valeo
1976 spending limits established by FECA were unconstitutional, ruling that those restrictions were in violation of freedom of expression, declared ban on self-financed campgins was unconstitutional
Soft Money
donations to political parties that could be used for general purposes, originally supposed to be used for voter registration drives, national party conventions, and issue ads, political parties were allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money, however soft money has generally been spent in ways that help the candidates, by 2000 donations exceeded 400 million
Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act
passed in 2002, Congress passed this act, banned the use of soft money in federal campaigns and increasing the 1974 limits on individual and group contributions to candidates, result of BCRA was the formation of 527 political organizations
527 Political Organization
largely unregulated interest group that focuses on a single policy and attempts to influence voters, after 2004 election, new rules govern 527 organizations regulated their use of soft money and allowed the FEC to examine their expenditures
allows for elections to be maintaining, deviating, critical, realigning, or dealigning in scope
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