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•Identify how amendments have extended the right to vote.
•Analyze the influences of voter turnout.

Bell Ringer:
Using the information in the chapter, make a time line of
the federal laws (including constitutional amendments)
that were designed to ensure the suffrage of African
Americans and women. Which, in your opinion, was the
most important law? Why?

Voting in the United States

Read Chapter 6 Section 4
Complete Assessment questions 1-6

     Suffrage: the legal right to vote
        (also known as franchise)

Electorate: potential voting population
         Requirements for Voting
1. Citizenship:
• Only citizens of the United States are eligible to vote in
2. Residence:
• A citizen must be a legal resident of the state he/she
   wishes to vote in.
• Voting Rights Act of 1970 – Congress banned
   requirements of any longer than thirty days for voting
   in a presidential election.
• Dunn v. Blumstein (1972) Supreme Court decision said
   that Tennessee’s requirement of one year state
   residency and ninety days in a particular county before
   being allowed to vote was unconstitutional.

3. Age:
• 26th Amendment gave eighteen year olds the right to
               Voter Registration
the procedure of voter identification intended to prevent
fraudulent voting.
•   In most states potential voters must verify their right
    to vote by providing evidence of their identity. Such
    information includes: name, date and place of birth,
    address, and length of residence.

•   Some states use voter registration information to
    identify voters’ party preference.
   Voter Registration

Motor Voter Act: passed in 1993,
requires states to permit people to
register to vote when they apply
for their driver’s license

The Constitution does not give the federal gov’t
the power to set suffrage qualifications. That power
belongs to the states.
      Restrictions on the states
If one is allowed to vote for state legislature, they
must also be allowed to vote for representatives
and senators.

Cannot overrule the 15th Amendment

Cannot overrule the 19th Amendment

Cannot require payment of a tax as a condition for
taking part in the nomination or election of a federal
Cannot keep eighteen year olds from fighting.
    History of Suffrage in the U.S.
1789 – only white male property owners allowed to vote
 After the Civil War ended, the definition of who could
                   vote was extended

                15th Amendment
  Ensures the right to vote regardless of race.
            Obstacles to Voting
For many years the 15th amendment was just words
on paper that were not necessarily enforced. Would
be voters were discouraged from voting by many
methods including: arrest, job loss, violent beatings,
and murder. In addition people were subject to
completing additional steps to be able to vote.
           Obstacles to Voting
Literacy tests: used to deny or discourage groups
from voting. Potential voters had to interpret
passages of the Constitution or answer other
questions that the majority of citizens would not
know the answer to.

  Voting Rights Amendment of 1970 outlawed this
            Obstacles to Voting
Poll tax: potential voters had to pay a special
property tax as a condition of voting.

 The 24th Amendment outlawed the use of poll taxes
            Obstacles to Voting
Gerrymandering: practice of drawing electoral
district lines to limit the voting strength of a
particular group or party. District lines were drawn
so that people (usually blacks) that were living
outside of a certain area were not allowed to vote in
any primaries.
Remedies For Voters
              Civil Rights Acts
Civil Rights Acts of 1960, 1964, and 1970 helped
remedy racial voter discrimination.

•Provide federal voting referees to investigate claims
of voter discrimination.

•Forbade the use of literacy requirements that were
used in an unfair or discriminatory manner.

•Relied on judicial action to overcome racial barriers
and allowed for the use of injunctions:
  Court order that forces or limits the performance
  of some act by a private individual or a public
  official. Violation is punishable by fine or
       Voting Rights Act of 1965
•Applies the same rules to all elections.

•New election laws had to go through a preclearance
process where the Department of Justice checked to
make sure new or revised laws did not “dilute” voting
rights of minority groups.

•Harper v Virginia Board of Elections (1966):
Supreme Court decision that formally made literacy
tests and poll taxes unconstitutional.
              17th Amendment

                   Passed in 1913
      Allows for the direct election of senators

•This was a change from Article I Section III of the
Constitution that gave the power of voting for
Senators to the individual state legislatures.
              19th Amendment

                    Passed in 1920
The right to vote cannot be abridged by the U.S. or a
state because of gender.

•This amendment faced similar, but less intense
problems as the 15th Amendment.
              23rd Amendment
                    Passed in 1961
Voters in the District of Columbia can vote for
president and vice president. They cannot have
more votes than the least populous state.

•DC is not a state and therefore even now, does not
have the right to have representation in Congress.
              26th Amendment

                  Passed in 1971
       Lowered the voting age to 18 years old.

•States can allow citizens under age of 18 to vote.
•Vietnam era “old enough to fight, old enough to
              Voter Behavior

   Today, many Americans CHOOSE not to vote.

More citizens will vote in presidential elections than
in other national, state, and local contests, but the
percentage of Americans voting in presidential
elections is declining.
Whether to Vote: A Citizen’s
       First Choice
    How Americans Vote:
Explaining Citizens’ Decisions
     Influences on Voter Turnout

Campaign Issues

 •No issues they feel passionately about
 •Do not like the campaign process (mudslinging,
 media blitz)
     Influences on Voter Turnout


 •Don’t feel candidates represent their views
 •Don’t identify with any of the candidates
 •Feel all politicians are dishonest or self serving
 •Distrust politicians
     Influences on Voter Turnout

Voter Attitude Toward Government

 •Voter efficacy: lack any sense of their influence or
 effectiveness in politics
 •Believe their vote does not make a difference
 •Some satisfied with the country’s direction and feel
 things will be okay no matter who wins
    How Americans Vote:
Explaining Citizens’ Decisions
 • Candidate Evaluations: How
   Americans See the Candidate

   – Candidates want a good visual image.
     • Especially on dimensions of integrity,
       reliability, and competence

   – Personality plays a role in vote choice,
     especially if a candidate is perceived to
     be incompetent or dishonest.
    How Americans Vote:
Explaining Citizens’ Decisions
• Policy Voting
  – Basing your vote choice on issue preferences and
    where the candidates stand on policy issues

  – Policy voting may occur if :
     • Voters know where they and the candidates stand on
       issues and see differences between candidates

  – Unlikely to occur because:
     • Candidates can be ambiguous on the issues.
     • Media tend to focus on the “horse race” not issues.

  – Today candidates are forced to take a clear stand
    in the party primaries increasing chances for
    policy voting.
      Influences on Voter Turnout

Voter Loyalty to Political Parties

 •If one belongs or very strongly identifies with a
 particular party, they are more likely to vote
    Factors That Influence Voting

Education: the higher one’s education the more
likely they are to vote. Typically those with
advanced and professional degrees vote Democratic.
    Factors That Influence Voting

Age: the older one is, more likely they are to vote.
(Age, sickness, and health issues start to bring down
                   their numbers)
    Factors That Influence Voting

Income: the more money one makes, the more likely
they are to vote.
             Voters v. Nonvoters

More likely to vote:
•Married people
•Union members
•High sense of political efficacy

Nonvoters likely to be:
• younger than 35

•Voter apathy, dissatisfaction, and the failure to meet
voting requirements contribute to the decline in voting.
Reasons Given For Not Voting
 •   Did not register                 42%
 •   Do not like the candidates       17%
 •   No particular reason             10%
 •   Are sick or disabled             8%
 •   Are not U.S. citizens            5%
 •   Are not interested in politics   5%
 •   Are new residents in the area    4%
 •   Are away from home               3%
 •   Cannot leave job                 3%
 •   Cannot get to the polls          1%
Conclusions from the 2004 Election
Non-Hispanic whites           Native citizens are more
constitute most of the        likely to register and vote
voting-age citizen population than naturalized citizens
Women are more likely to       The peak age group for
vote                           voting was between 65-74
                               years of age
Married people are more        People with more education,
likely to vote                 higher incomes and jobs are
                               more likely to vote
Homeowners and longtime        People in the Midwest are
residents are more likely to   most likely to register and
vote                           vote
Most people vote in person     Voting rates are higher in
instead of using absentee      states with same-day
ballots                        registration

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