Sample Election Ballot for Texas by jle31578

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									Texas Elections
  • Free elections essential to Democracy …
  • However, Texas, as other states, has denied
      right to vote to many!

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• 19th Amendment legalized full citizenship for
   women in 1920

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Blacks/Other Minorities
•   Slavery                     • Kennedy murder 1963
•   Civil War                   • Civil Rights Act 1964
                                  –   Johnson statement to Bill Moyers

•   Reconstruction              • Voting Rights Act 1965
•   1876 election deal
•   Plessey v Ferguson
•   Smith v. Allwright 1944
•   WWII military integration
•   Brown v. Board case

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Young adults
 • 26th Amendment gave 18, 19, 20 year
      old voting in 1971.
  • Below is Vietnam Memorial; most of the names of
      the dead are young adults.

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Economic “have not” citizens
• Texas required poll tax to discourage
• 24th (1964) stopped for federal elections
  & for state elections in 1966.
• Texas Constitution stopped poor “paupers”
  from voting.

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Texas Denied Vote To:
 • Those who cannot meet property
    ownership; residency; restrictive
    registration requirements; “idiots &
  • U.S. military personnel due to post Civil
    War hatred of Union occupation;
    changed in 1950’s.
        – Carrington v. Rash decision did what in

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Voting eligibility today?
  • Today, most Texans eligible to vote (Section 13.001
      Texas Election Code) when:
  •   18 years of age or older
  •   a United States citizen;
  •   not determined mentally incompetent by court;
  •   not a convicted felon unless sentence completed or
  •   be a resident of the county in which application for
      registration is made.
  •   Register at least 30 days prior to the election.

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Voting Information

• For voting information contact Tarrant
  County Elections Office at 817-884-1115.
• To look up your Tarrant County voter
  registration and find your polling place:
• If do not live here, go to your county.

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Informed Citizen Participation?
• Consider how in 1997, in a Kaufman County Texas
    election, only two people voted and they approved a
    $340 million bond proposal (tax obligation) to help
    home developers with pools, cabanas, landscaping.
    Property tax doubled.
•   Citizens who did not vote are outraged but have no
    one to blame but themselves.
•   Successful democracy depends on informed citizen
    participation from ALL OF US!

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How Many Do Not Vote?
  • 1980 presidential election 74,000,000 did not vote.
  • 1988 presidential election 90,000,000 did not vote!
       – Lowest since 1924 election of Calvin Coolidge.
         Has been MUCH lower! 1996 49% turnout.
  •   2000 presidential election over 100,000,000!
  •   Texas voter turnout 12.2% 9/03. 9% 2001. 4.7% in
      Tarrant County and 7% statewide 1999. 6.9%
      state voter turnout 1997.
  •   Did you know that in a 2007 survey of the
      percentage of voting - age citizens who actually
      cast a ballot in their country's elections, the United
      States ranked only 139th out of 172 nations that
      held elections?
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Why do so many not vote?
 • Too many are poorly educated
    regarding why participation is so
  • Too many feel alienated because they
    believe government does not address
    their concerns.
  • Too many are discouraged from
    participation due to structural obstacles.
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Voter Registration Reforms
  • Mail in voter registration
     – Texas & some others to this but we have
       poor turnout.
  • Election day registration (high turnout)
     – Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin, & Oregon
  • Universal registration (high turnout)
     – Idaho
  • No registration at all (high turnout)
     – North Dakota
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Texas election primaries
  • A. Party screens its candidates & selects its'
  • B. “Dual primaries” in Texas conducted from
     – 1st Primary held 1st Tuesday in March
       of even years.
        •Majority wins or 2 highest vote earners
         advance to “runoff.”

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Sample election, other than general
  • Candidate #1=26 votes
  • Candidate #2=25 votes
  • Candidate #3=24 votes
  • Candidate #4=15 votes
  • Candidate #5=10 votes
    – 100 total votes, so must obtain 51 to win
      by simple majority (50% + 1 or more)
      to avoid runoff! Majority wins!
  • But “general election” win by plurality vote.
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Texas primary runoff election
  • 2nd Primary held 1st Tuesday in April of
      even years.
        – 2 candidates in race; majority win.
  • Winners advance to November general
      election to compete against nominees of all
      other political parties.
        – Win by majority, or, if no majority winner, (due
          to many parties on ballot), then by plurality.

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Voter forgot registration?
• What forms of ID accepted at poll? The “Help America
  Vote Act 2002” allows:
    – Driver's license or a personal identification card issued by DPS
      or a similar document from another state
    – ID w/photograph, a birth certificate, U.S. citizenship papers, a
    – Official mail addressed to the person by name from a
      government agency
    – Current copy of a utility bill, a bank statement, a government
      check, a paycheck or other governmental document that
      shows the name and address of the voter
    – Any other form of identification prescribed by the secretary of

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  The “Provisional Ballot”
• What happens when voter does not bring proper registration card
  & isn't on voter roll?
   – 1. Voter shows ID, signs affidavit verifying info. Put in
   – 2. Voter casts ballot, placed in separate envelope. Provisional
     ballot & affidavit placed in larger envelope.
   – 3. Voter registrar collects provisional ballots & verifies whether
     came from eligible voters.
   – 4. Eligible provisional ballots forwarded to ballot board &
   – 5. Registrar & ballot board authenticate within one week.
   – 6. Counties must provide people whose votes not counted an
     explanation why.
   – 7. Canvassing of the election done no earlier than 8th day and
     no later than the 11th day after Election Day.
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Primary characteristics
  • A. No party purity law in Texas like in other
  • B. Crossover voting: good motive ... voter
    seeks best candidate regardless of party.
  • C. Raiding voting: Darth Vader motive ...
    voter seeks worst candidate easiest for home
    party candidate to beat!

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Party conventions
  • Types of precincts
        – County commissioner, Justice of Peace,
          Constable, and election precincts.

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Party precinct convention
  • Convenes at 7:15 PM after primary election closes
      at poll. Sign in for presidential candidate.
  •   Elected party chair, convention president, party
  •   Select delegates to Senate/county convention.
        – 1 delegate for 25 votes cast in precinct for party
          candidate for governor.

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Senate/county convention
  • Same agenda
  • Rate 1 delegate to the state convention for
      every 12 voting for governor in district or
      county in last election.

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State convention
  • Same general agenda, but several thousand
      delegates across state attend. Held during June &
  •   Elect state party officers & 62 state party committee
  •   Each party in Texas selects 34 presidential electors
      (538 total in U.S. vote) based on U.S. Constitution.
      A minimum of 270 electors decide who will be
      President and Vice President. How get to be one?
      How does electoral voting work?
  •   Choose delegates to national convention

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National convention

• Decide platform
• Elect national party executive committee
• Select party presidential & vice presidential

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  Techniques in history used to
  name political party nominees
• Party caucus: party members in state
     – Choosing nominees closed to everyone else
     – Complaints of abuse ... no one else could

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Techniques in history used to name
political party nominees
• Party convention: created in 1828 during
   President Jackson’s Administration
     – Let ordinary citizen - party members select
       nominees for 1st time

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Techniques in history used to name
political party nominees

• Party primary elections:
     – began in Texas in 1905 for all offices except
     – President added in Texas primaries by Senate
       Bill 4 in 1987).

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Closed & open party primaries
  • Open: all parties’ candidates are one ballot.
        – Louisiana has its primary about 2 weeks
          before the general election, where all
          candidates of all parties run for all offices
          on one ballot.
           • If one gets more than 50%, then is winner. If
             NOT, then the runoff is on general election day
             between 2 highest; could be same party!
  • Closed: voting limited to party membership
       – usually register as a party member
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Texas primary restrictions
  • Has separate party voting, but does not
    require party selection until vote at poll.
  • Cannot vote in more than one primary.
  • Once vote in a party primary, cannot change
    to other party primary in runoff election.

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   Who can hold political party
   primary election in Texas?
• Major political party can hold public elections
     – If a party’s candidate for governor receives 20%,
       then that party is major.
     – If not, it is a minor party & all its candidates are
       selected by its party convention.

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New parties
  • Must file list of supporters (petition of registered
      voters signatures) equal to 1% of total governor
      vote in state.
             • Example: 1% of 5,000,000=50k)
  • Other than Repubs/Demos, access to ballot
      obtained by new party collecting 45,540 signatures
      (2006) in 75 days (after precinct convention 1st
      Tues March until 5/11) from voters who did not
      vote Rep/Demo.
  •   Any party that gets 5% of vote gets spot on ballot
      in next state election.

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    Financing Elections
  • Who finances elections?
  • 1906-1970 financed under user-benefit
        – political candidates financed through filing fees.
        – $1,000 for race in one county...$8900 in another
          for same office!

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Election Finance Change
  • 1970: Federal court ruled
    unconstitutional/now tax/state money pays
    for majority of all state elections. Now
    uniform filing fees pay for portion.
  • $13.4 million taxpayer dollars spent for 1990
    republican and democrat primary elections.
    About same in 2000.

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Filing fees candidates pay to run

• $5,000=President, $4,000=U.S. Senate,
   $2,500=U.S. House , $3,000=Gov/other execs,
   $1,000=State senate, $600=State house, $600-
   1,000=County com, $300-800=Justice of Peace,
   $600=Sheriff, $1,000=DA/other county,

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Petition in lieu of paying filing fee

• Signatures of 2%, OR 500, of all votes cast for
   governor in district in last election.

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Primary Administration
 • Primary elections administered by
        – party chair
        – executive committee
        – simple majority wins, or runoff required.

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 General Elections
• General elections administered by public
  officials & plurality wins.
   – Only Georgia (for primary & general elections) requires
     majority win, or top two advance to a runoff.
• Official election to determine who will occupy seat.
• Art #II, Sec. 1, Congress chooses day for
  selection of Presidential electors (general
  election day). When?
     •Tuesday next after the 1st Monday
      in November. Why?
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General Election Day Chosen
  • Crop harvests completed by November;
  • Travel easier in northern states before
  • Tuesday chosen because gave day of travel
    after Sunday;
  • Prevented elections falling on 1st day of
    month that was reserved for court business
    at county seat.

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Special Elections
  • Fill vacancy of un-expired office term & constitutional
      amendment proposals
        – Nonpartisan & eliminates need for primary
        – Example: In the 2000 Missouri election, then Gov. Mel Carnahan (D),
          also a candidate for the US Senate died in an airplane crash. Dead
          guy defeats Sen Ashcroft. Acting Missouri Gov appoints wife to serve
          until special election in 2 years.
  • Special elections in Texas must be held when? Governor
      chooses 1 of 4 possible election dates under Senate Bill 4.
             •   3rd Saturday in January
             •   3rd Saturday in May
             •   2nd Saturday in August
             •   Tuesday next after the 1st Monday in November.
        – Must be next election day (of 4 options) on or after 36th day after
          election called by governor.

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9/13/03 Constitutional Amendment Election
 • Republicans placed election on 9/13/03 to get a
      lower turnout than regular 11/4/03 election. About
      strategy & political tactics.
  •   Cost Harris County $1.8 million to conduct election
      & still must pay another $1.8 million for 11/4
  •   Harris County has 1 in 7 of all registered voters in
      Texas where high % are poor & low turnout in
      special elections.

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Absentee Vote
  • Now “no fault” absentee (early) voting in
        – No approved excuse needed, unlike before.
        – Allowed on 17th day to 4th day before election.
          General election absentee closed Saturday thru
        – Candidates now must raise more money to
          communicate with voter earlier and peak twice!

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Voting by Mail Eligibility
  • Older than 65
  • Disabled
  • Will be out of county during early voting
    period and on election day
  • In jail pending trial, but not convicted.
  • Can send “application” for ballot by mail 60
    days before election or later.
  • Must be received by 7 pm election day.

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