; Advocacy
Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out
Your Federal Quarterly Tax Payments are due April 15th Get Help Now >>



  • pg 1

  Chp 3
• How citizen involvement can influence the
  lawmaking process
• Active support of a cause
• The art of persuading others to support the
  same cause.
• Based on careful gathering of facts, the
  developments of excellent communication
  skills, and the creation of an effective plan
  and time line
• Way to influence the lawmaking process
  by convincing lawmakers to vote as you
  want them to
  – Involves freedom of speech, assembly,
    association, and freedom of press
• Lobbyists: someone who works to
  convince a lawmaker to vote for or against
  a particular issue.
  – Use political contributions, ads, favors, letter
    writing campaigns, etc.
• Special Interest Groups and Organizations
  – National Rifle Association
  – Handgun Control Inc.
• Professional Lobbyist
  – Register with Congress
  – File Reports 4 times a year-
     • must identify clients and the bills they are working
     • How much they have been paid
     • How much they have spent lobbying
• Criticisms
  – Enables people and businesses to “ buy
• Do persons with more money have greater
  influence over legislators that those with
  less money?
• Basic constitutional right
• Do we vote for all laws directly?
  – No
  – Representative Democracy: We vote for
    representatives to make decisions on our
• Initiative: procedure that enables a specified number of
  voters to propose a law by petition.
   – The law is then submitted to either the electorate (that’s us) or
     the legislature for approval
   – Right to vote for women, 8 hour workday for govt employees,
     term limits for elected officials, campaign finance reform,
     environmental protection, etc.
• Referendum: When a legislative act is referred to voters
  for final approval or rejection.
   – Gun control, gay rights, abortion, environmental protection,
     funding for schools, parks, roads and other government
• Recall: Allows voters to remove elected officials from
• Arguments for initiative and referendum
  – A more democratic system of law making.
     • Allows voters to express their opinions directly
• Opponents: Could result in majority
  populations voting to take away rights of
           Who Can Vote?
• To register
  – U.S Citizen
  – 18 years old by date of election
  – Resident of community in which you register
           Voter Registration
• Registration is handled by states
  – 49 states require voter registration
     • North Dakota is the only state which does not
  – National Voter Registration Act, Motor Voter
    Act, requires states to make voter registration
    applications available at motor vehicle
    departments, state offices, welfare offices and
    agencies that serve the disabled.
          Voter Registration
• In Texas, must be done 30 days before
  the election.
  – Remember, you can register as long as you
    will be 18 on election day.
• Some states offer same day voter
  registration and yield higher voter
• A fair election requires voters to have
  access to information about the candidate
  – League of Women Voters www.lwv.org
  – DemocracyNet www.dnet.org : allows
    candidates to enter their own statements
    without any outside editing.
  – Federal Election Commission www.fec.gov
             Voting Rights
• 1870 15th amndt: African Americans
• 192019th amndt: Women
• 1924 Native Americans (granted
  citizenship therefore the right to vote)
• Voting Rights Act 1965: eliminated voting
  barriers (poll tax, literacy test)
• 1971 26th amndt: 18 year olds
              Cannot Voters
•   Resident Aliens
•   Ill
•   Traveling
•   Mental health issues
•   Incarcerated
•   Religious beliefs
         Voter Participation
• 2008
  – 11,677,018 Registered voters in Texas
  – 8,086,684 actually voted
• Voter Turnout for Congressional elections
  much lower
Presidential   Percent
   1960         63.1
   1964         61.9
   1968         60.8
   1972         55.2
   1976         53.6
   1980         52.6
   1984         53.1
   1988         50.1
   1992         55.1
   1996         49.1
   2000         51.3
   2004         55.3
  2008         61.7
          Voter Participation
• Typically lower voter turnout for
  – Low income members of racial minorities
  – Immigrants
  – Youth vote (ages 18-25)
           Problem 3.3 pg 36
• A. Make a list of all the reasons for voting and
  another list of all the reasons for not voting
• B. The following proposals have been made to
  encourage more people to vote. Do you have or
  oppose each proposal? EXPLAIN
  – Allow people to register to vote on the same day
  – Lower the voting age to 16 so some high school
    students could vote
  – Keep the polls open for a week instead of a day
  – Automatically register everyone who has a driver’s

To top