Voting & Elections by h3U571lt


									March 23, 2010
  Parties and Interest Groups (review)
• What are they?
   – Linkage institutions
   – “office seekers” vs. “benefit seekers”
• Where did they come from?
• Why does the US have a 2-party system?
   – Duverger’s Law and other contributing factors
   – Implications for R and D characteristics
      • “Big tents”
      • Centrist (but conservative in comparative perspective)
      • Relatively weak
   – Pros and Cons
• How do interest groups achieve their goals?
  Material, Solidary, or Purposive?
• Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal:
    “Today, young people face life-threatening challenges
    on a daily basis - violence, substance abuse, neglect,
    AIDS, poverty, low self-esteem, health and body image
    issues - the list is far too long. If our youth are to grow
    up and be productive citizens, they need a place
    where they can just be kids. They need caring adults
    to help them develop their skills, self-confidence and
    the strength to reject dangerous entrapments of their
    free time. Boys & Girls Clubs offer that and much
    more thanks to the generosity and caring of many
    individuals, corporations and foundations.”
 Material, Solidary, or Purposive?
• McLean County Dance Association
    “We encourage you to become a donor and
    support McLean County Dance Association. Your
    generosity will be acknowledged in our various
    event programs.”
 Material, Solidary, or Purposive?
• Access Allies of Bloomington-Normal
    “Membership has many benefits including the
    access to educational materials … discussion
    groups, and much, much more.”
           Voting and Elections
• Another linkage institution
• “an absolute prerequisite
  for [republican] democracy”
  (Smith 123)
   Voting and Elections in the US
• Highly decentralized (federalism)
  – U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 4:
     “The times, places, and manner of
     holding elections … shall be prescribed
     in each state by the legislature thereof”
  – Most states leave election administration up to
    the counties
     • Illinois
           On the other hand …
• Voting rights are now largely regulated by the
  federal government
  – Amendments 15 (race), 19 (gender), 24 (tax), 26 (age)
  – Voting Rights Act of 1965
  – Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act
    of 1986
  – National Voter Registration Act of 1993
    (a.k.a. “the motor voter law”)
  – Help America Vote Act of 2002
  – Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice
Exception: Felony Disenfranchisement
   Voting and Elections in the US
• Many, frequent elections
  – Elected officials at all levels of government
     • National: President, congressmen
     • State: Governors, state legislators, others
     • Local: Mayors, council members, school boards, others
  – Congressional elections held every 2 years
  – Primary elections (before general elections)
     • Major party candidates are selected by voters, not by
       party leaders
   Voting and Elections in the US
• Relatively low voter turnout
            More on Voter Turnout
• Why is it so low?
   –   Election day timing
   –   Voter registration
   –   Frequency of elections
   –   Cost/benefit analysis
• Is it a problem?
   – What (if anything)
     should be done to
     improve voter turnout
     in the US?
• Coordinated efforts by parties and candidates
  to influence election outcomes in their favor
• Activities include (but aren’t limited to):
  – Strategizing
  – Polling
  – Fundraising
  – Endorsement seeking
  – Personal contact
  – Advertising
            Campaign Finance
• How much do campaigns cost?
  – 2008 presidential races

  – 2010 congressional races (so far)  

• Where does the money come from?
  – Contributions from individuals
  – Contributions from corporations, unions, and
    interest groups
     • Political Action Committees (PACs)
Recent Campaign Finance Developments
• In the federal government
   – Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002
     (a.k.a. “BCRA,” “McCain-Feingold”)
          • Closes soft money loophole left by earlier laws
          • Adjusts contribution limits for individuals and PACs
          • Restricts corporations (including IGs) from airing ads that
            name any candidates within 60 days prior to Election Day
   – Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)
          • Overturns parts of BCRA and previous decisions upholding it
• In Illinois
   – First campaign finance legislation passed in 2009
                 Campaign Ad Types
• Biographical ads

• Issue-oriented ads

• Attack ads (a.k.a. negative campaigning)

• Emotional/psychological appeals
  – Fear

  – Patriotism

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