Voter and Voter Participation

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					Voting and Voter Participation
Will you be 18 on November   4th,

1. Yes
2. No
   Are you registered to vote?
1. Yes
2. No
  Could you have voted for the
      President in 1800?
1. Yes
2. No
    How many times have we extended the right
          to vote and to what groups?
•       Voting is the type of political
        activity most often engaged in by

•       The Electorate has expanded
        many times in history:
    –     1870- 15th amendment-black men
          right to vote
    –     1920- 19th amendment-women
    –     1924- Congress granted Native
          Americans citizenship and vote
    –     1964- 24th amendment prohibited
          use of poll tax
    –     1965- Voting Rights Act of 1995-
          removed restrictions that kept blacks
          from voting.
    –     1971-26th amendment, 18 year old
 What Amendment guaranteed
 the right to vote for women?

1.   1870 – 13th Amendment
2.   1870 – 14th Amendment
3.   1870 – 15th Amendment
4.   1920 – 19th Amendment
5.   1964 – 24th Amendment
6.   1971 – 26th Amendment
 What Amendment guaranteed the
  right to vote for 18 year olds?

1.   1870 – 13th Amendment
2.   1870 – 14th Amendment
3.   1870 – 15th Amendment
4.   1920 – 19th Amendment
5.   1964 – 24th Amendment
6.   1971 – 26th Amendment
 What Amendment guaranteed
 the right to vote for minorities?

1.   1870 – 13th Amendment
2.   1870 – 14th Amendment
3.   1870 – 15th Amendment
4.   1920 – 19th Amendment
5.   1964 – 24th Amendment
6.   1971 – 26th Amendment
      Elections in the 1800’s were
• Parties prepared ballots in 1800‟s.
• They used different colors of paper that
  allowed them to “monitor” how people voted.
• Reform led us to the “Australian ballot”-
  devised in Australia in 1856.
• We moved to this type of ballot in the early
  –   it is printed by the state-public expense,
  –   it lists the candidates names,
  –   it is given out at the polls,
  –   it is secret
              Elections Today

•   Today we are voting
    electronically (with
    voting machines) and
    there are a lot of
    problems with this new
  Here are some sample Ballots…
Travis County Sample Ballot:

Williamson County Sample Ballot:
                 Voting Today
• All neighborhoods are
  divided into voting districts or
  precincts of about 500-1000
• This precinct number allow
  you to find your polling
  place – place where you go
  to vote
• Poll watchers are assigned
  to the polls, one from each
  party to challenge anyone
  they believe is not qualified
  to vote.
         Elections today are:
1. Done on
   „Australian Ballots‟
2. Done at precincts
3. All done
4. Paid for by political
5. All of the above
   Elections are conducted at:
1. Precincts
2. Polling locations
3. Elementary
4. Voting districts
In which Presidential election did the highest
 percentage of the electorate actually vote?
1.   1960
2.   1968
3.   1972
4.   1980
5.   1996
6.   2000
7.   2004
                     Voter Turnout
•       We hold more elections for more offices than
        others countries do.
•       Our highest turnout is in presidential general
        elections. We also turn out more for federal
        elections more than local does.
    –     1960, we peaked at 63% of people over 21.
    –     Turnout should have gone up since 1960 because of the
          Voting Rights Act.
    –     Women have increased their voting turnout.
    –     The electorate has grown richer and more educated; it
          seems we would have an increase because of that.
         Registration and Voting
•       Registration – tends to discourage voting.
        Most other democracies have automatic voter
    –     Average voter turnout in the U.S. is more than 30
          points lower than other democracies.
•       Registration varies from state to state.
    –     Every state except North Dakota requires
    –     3 states permit election-day voter registration.
    –     In most states, 30 days residency is needed, and
          you must register 30 days prior to an election.
     Why is Voter Turnout so Low?

•   85 million eligible Americans fail to vote in
    presidential elections – why?
•   People are lazy, they are apathetic, and voter
    registration appears to be the major block to
 What percentage of eligible voters
  aged 18-25 voted in the 2004
1.   100%
2.   80%
3.   60%
4.   50%
5.   44%
There has been a decline
of voter turnout since
1960 because of the 26th
amendment – lowered
voting age to 18 – it
expanded the electorate,
but lowered the overall
turnout percentage,
because this block of
young voters just don’t
   Why is Voter Turnout so Low?
• Others say, there is
  not a candidate who
  is appealing.
  – Candidates
    themselves are not
    real choices.
  – They are not exciting,
    and they avoid taking
    stands on issues.
      Who is most likely to vote?
1.   Christians
2.   People 18-25
3.   High School grads
4.   College grads
5.   African-Americans
                 Who Votes?
•   What kinds of things
    help us to predict
    who will/does vote?
•   Level of education
    helps predict whether
    people will vote, as
    education increases,
    so does the
    propensity to vote.
•   Race and ethnicity are
    also linked to voting in
    large part because
    they are correlated to
   Who is most likely to vote?
1. Parents of young
2. People age 18-25
3. People over 70
4. People age 55-70
             Who Votes?
• Income and age
  are also important.
• Those with higher
  income vote more.
• 18-24 year olds
  vote the least
• People over 70
  also have low
  voter turnout.
  How can you vote in Texas?
1. Register on
   election day
2. Anyone with a
   driver‟s license
   can vote
3. Register 30 days
   prior to the
4. Register online
              Who Can Vote?
• 1. In the State of
  Texas, you must be
  registered to vote.
• 2. In Texas, you must
  be a citizen and a
  resident of the state for
  30 days.
• 3. Most states make
  you register 30 days
  prior to the election.
               Who Can Vote?
• 4. In Texas, if you will be
  18 soon, you can register
  60 days before your
  birthday BUT you must be
  18 on election day in order
  to vote.
• 5. All States require
  registration EXCEPT North
• 6. Maine and Washington
  allow you to register at any
  time up to and including
  the day of the election.
     Who are the CAN NOT voters?
• 1. Aliens (non-citizens) even
  though nothing in Constitution
  disallows them-states choose
• 2. convicted felons lose
• 3. some religious disallow
  people to vote.
• 4. some are physically ill and
  can not get to the polls
• 5. mentally restrained in
          What is a NON VOTER?
• 1. People that choose not to
• 2. Voter who thinks vote does not count
• 3. People who are satisfied with the status quo
• 4. Those who distrust the government
• 5. Those who are not interested
• 6. Those who are not registered
• 7. Most of the time these are the NON VOTERS- younger than
  35, unmarried, unskilled, uneducated, live in rural areas, in the
• 8. Band wagon effect (choose not to because everyone else
  has already voted one way)
• 9. Bad weather, long lines, inconvenient
• 10 Non voters who vote (vote top of ticket, leave bottom
  blank-ballot fatigue)
       What Factors influence us to
• Psychological- how do you feel
  about the issues? How do you feel
  about the candidates-what are your
• Sociological-groups that you
  belong to-age, occupation, religion,
  geographical area in which you
  live, sex, education, party
• Party identification is the single
  most significant and lasting
  predictor of whether a person
  will vote, it is also the most
  important factor that brings us to
  the polls.
               Voting Choices

•   Party ID- has a lot to do with one‟s evaluation of
    candidates and often predicts a person‟s stand on
•   2/3rd of all independents are, in fact, partisan in
    their voting behavior, meaning they have two
    choices-vote democrat or republican.
    Independent democrats vote democrat.
    Independent republicans vote republican.
•   Voting on the Basis of Candidates-the 1980‟s
    marked the emergence of candidate-centered
    elections. Greater weight given to the candidate‟s
    strengths and weaknesses is not new.
                 Voting Choices
•   Most scholars agree, issues are
    NOT as central to the decision
    process as partisanship and
    candidate appeal. Candidates
    are intentionally vague on their
    positions. By not detailing their
    plan, they can appeal to the
•   The state of the economy is
    often the central issue in midterm
    elections. It is common for the
    president‟s party to lose seats in
    Congress in the off-year
                Voting Choices
• Voters tend to see the
  responsibility of the
  economy resting more with
  the president than with
  Congress, governors, or local
• Less-educated people tend
  to judge a candidate on the
  basis of their own financial
  standings. Upper-status
  voters are more likely to
  watch the overall
  performance of the
   Some cool voting websites
• http://www.electoral-