Chapter 13 - Voting & Elections - Study Questions (with Answers)
Answer the questions below.

1)What purposes do elections serve? Elections serve the people of the United States a way to get to know the candidate and to influence the candidate to do a couple of things the people think is right. The symbolism in elections are to enforce change. Elections are the means to fill public offices and the staff of the government.The voters choice of candidates and the parties are to help organize the government.

2)What is the difference between an initiative petition and a referendum?
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal, whereas an initiative petition is a voter driven action that, if enough signatures are collected, gets onto the ballot and becomes law.

Initiative is an election where citizens propose legislation and submit it to the state electorate for popular vote.
In contrast, during a Referendum, the state legislature submits proposed legislation to the state's voters for approval.


3)What are political efficacy and civic duty, and how do they affect individuals' decisions about whether or not to vote?
Political efficacy is the citizen's trust in the government, and their own belief that they can understand and influence political affairs. Civic duty is the social force that connects citizens to the courses of action demanded by that force. An example of a civic duty is the duty to serve on a jury. These two things affect individuals' decisions to vote because it's up to each individual to decide whether or not they have civic duty or believe in political efficacy. Although every citizen should, not all do.

4)Describe the major features of the Motor Voter Act of 1993. What effect has it had on voter registration? Voter turnout?
Motor Voter Act required state governments to make the voter registration process easier by providing uniform registration services through drivers' license registration centers, disability centers, schools, libraries, and mail-in registration.
Motor Voter Registration has not increased voter turn-out, but has rather slowed down the rate of decrease.

5)What criteria do Americans usually use to evaluate political candidates? Americans use views on foreign policy, domestic affairs, military funding, abortion, religion, and immigration among others. Voters also evaluate a candidate based on their likability and other underlying biases and prejudices they have (A candidate's race, religion, age, gender, etc.). A candidate's political views are not the only thing that contributes to their overall likability.

6)What happens if no candidate receives an electoral college majority?
If no candidates receives an electoral college majority, the House of Representatives decides the election. Each state's House delegates form 1 group to cast one vote.

7)Explain the theory of retrospective voting.
When voting, the voters are judging the performance of the party in power. This judgment is understandable because voters can evaluate the record of office holders much better than they can predict the future actions of the out-of-power challengers.

8)Why does the test refer to George W. Bush's first term as polarizing, and how was this reflected in the 2004 election results? Polarizing is the process by which people change their party affiliations to match on of two opposite ends of the political spectrum. The medium all but disappears as voters feel very strongly either one way or the other. This phenomena occurred in 2004 when there were liberals who hated Bush, and Conservatives who loved Bush, especially the Christian voter block.

9)Why is electoral legitimacy such an important aspect of America's political system? Is this sense of legitimacy deserved, in your opinion? If our elections are accepted as legitimate, why don't more people vote? Explain. Electoral legitimacy is an important aspect of America's political system because it makes the elections fair for candidates and voters alike. This also makes America one of the forerunners of a true and just democratic system. This sense of legitimacy is deserved because once a country decides to be a democracy, it has to live up to the expectations of the communities that vote for their leaders. Less people vote because of the difficulty of registration, difficulty of absentee voting, the number of different types of elections, or simply because they are too busy.

10)Describe what initiatives and referendums are and what purpose they serve. Would you like to see more legislation subject to direct votes of the people or do you prefer to have the legislatures and Congress represent the people's interests more indirectly? Explain. An initiative is a process that allows citizens to propose legislation and submit it to the state electorate for popular vote. A referendum is an election whereby the state legislature submits proposed legislation to the state's voters for approval. I would like to see more legislation subject to direct votes of the people because i feel this might represent the general population better because Congress can easily be influenced by lobbyists and big businesses who contribute to their campaigns.

11)Briefly describe the major issues and events of the elections of 1800, 1896, and 2000. How engaged was the American public in each of these elections? Election of 1800- "Revolution of 1800" was when Thomas Jefferson was elected President over Andrew Burr due to a House of Representative vote. The 12th Amendment was later passed which stated that the Vice President and President were to be on one ticket. The American public was not very involved because the House was the deciding factor. Election of 1896- McKinley v. Bryan. In this election it was really silver (Republicans) versus gold (Democrats). The American Public was extremely involved because the country was divided currency wise and the President elected would effect the economics of the entire country. McKinley won. Election of 2000- Bush v. Gore. This election was taken to the Supreme Court due to a ballot counting malfunction in Florida and the Supreme Court ruled to stop the recounting which gave more electoral votes to Bush. The American public was only involved to the extent that they were extremely opinionated on the matter. The most they could actually do was sit and wait. Bush won the election although Gore obtained more of the popular vote. This matter is still an issue today with people who wish to rid of the electoral college.

12)Why does the test refer to George W. Bush's first term as polarizing, and how was this reflected in the 2004 election results? Bush's first term can be thought of as polarizing because controversy over the War on Terror and general Bush administration policy led to stronger divisions along party lines. This is reflected in the high numbers of voters who voted for their party's candidate in the 2004 presidential election.

13)Comment on some of the many ways in which elections have changed throughout American history. Give examples to illustrate your answer.
One way that the elections have changed is through the parties. In the early history of America, the names of the parties were not the same as they are now. They used to have the Jeffersonians and the Federalists and now the two main parties are the Democrats and Republicans. Other than the fact that the names of the parties are different, elections have also changed due to many of the amendments added to the Constitution. The 12th Amendment changed elections so that the President and Vice President run on the same ticket. The 14th and 19th amendments gave all citizens (freedmen) and woman the right to vote respectively. This added to the electorate and changed the way candidates ran their elections and changed the issues and outcomes of elections.

14)Compare and contrast the presidential elections of 1800, 1896, and 2004. What factors made each election unique and important? What were some of the major changes between these elections? In 1800, a Constitutional Amendment was passed stating when there is a tie in the Electoral College it goes to the House of Representatives to break the tie. Also a precedent was set where the President and the VP would run together. In 1896, a realignment of Democratic Party gave the Republicans the Advantage. In 2004, there were many problems with the voting process and many precendents where set about the punch-hole voting ballots.

15)Describe who votes in United States elections and who stays home. Which groups have the highest turnout rates? Which have the lowest? Explain why you think some groups are more, and some less, likely to vote.
Voters are usually more educated, and higher income than nonvoters. The ages between 18 and 30 vote the least, and elderly people usually turn out in large numbers. White and Hispanic people also vote more than African Americans. Usually younger, pooper, and less educated people care less about government and don't believe that one vote really does count. They also are influenced by their peers and communities in which fewer people vote.

16)How does the voter turnout rate in the United States compare to the other industrialized nations of the world? Why is this so? What evidence is there that easing voter registration would increase turnout? Would you take any specific steps to raise voter turnout? Explain. In the US the voter turnout compared to other nations is strickingly low. The reason being is it is time consuming to go register to vote and to actually vote. Some states have gone with new methods where the voter receives an envelope in the mail and they cast their vote and mail it back all from home. the only way That I could see the turnout rising is if it was an easier process. The only way I could personally raise it would be if I voted myself (not that significant but hey every vote counts)

17)Describe how the composition of the electorate is biased. What types of individuals vote? Does it matter? In what sense is voter turnout of these groups rational? The electorate is biased because mostly highly-educated, upper-level income people vote. This can sway the vote into reflecting the values of that portion of the American public instead of a broader representation of everyone's political views. The turnout makes sense though, because with more education comes more knowledge about politics and confidence in influencing how the country is run. Also, people with higher-paying jobs are generally more willing to vote because they have a financial stake in the government and want to make sure it runs favorably for them.

18)What is the mandate theory of elections, and who believes in it? According to political scientists, what are the three major elements to a voter's decision? From what you observed during the 2004 election, which element(s) do you think was most important to most voters? Explain.
The mandate theory is when, despite who wins the election, the winner claims a mandate, or command, from the people to carry out their platform. Three major elements in a voter's decision are 1) the voter must have an opinion on the issue. 2) the voter must have an idea of what action, if any, the government is taking on the issue. 3) voters must see a difference between the two parties on an issue. During the 2004 election, terrorism was very significant to voters because of the attacks on 9/11, also the war in Iraq played a significant part in voters' decisions because of the the length of it so far, and American Military Policy. Also, the economy was significant to voters, because Bush pointed out how Kerry had a history of raising taxes, which took away from economic progress.

19)Describe and evaluate the factors that influence a voter's decision to choose a particular candidate. People of different races tend to vote differently (whites: republican, blacks:democratic) . Gender also is an issue, women tend to vote more democratic because they are the political party that works most on womens rights. Also if a candidate is female or of a certain race those that are similar to the candidate tend to vote for them. People with low income vote more democratic while people with high income vote more republican.

20)How does the electoral college system work? Do you prefer it to direct popular election? Who serves in this college? Describe the outcome of the 2000 presidential campaign. Who objected? Did it threaten the legitimacy of our political system?
The electoral college works by having voters vote for their presidential candidate first then having the electors in that state cast their vote for the president that gets the most vote in the state. Usually the winner of the state gets all the electors unless the electors vote against the winner which happens rarely. I personally prefer a popular election because not only is it less complicated but it also is a fairer representation of who the American people want to lead them. The people who serve the college are delegates that are elected by the representatives. In the 2000 election Gore ended up getting more popular or total votes but Bush won the election because he won more elector college votes because of the states he won. The American people objected especially in Florida and other states that were close. It definitely threatened the legitimacy of our political system because people became angry and confused as to why and how the person with the most votes lost the election. It just made people trust the government even less then they already have.

21)Explain how the electoral college system works. Evaluate the system. Is it completely antiquated or does it still serve a purpose? The electoral college is a body of 538 elected members, one for each Congressman and 3 for Washington DC. A majority of 270 votes is required to elect the President. There are many criticizers after the 2000 election in which Gore received the popular vote by Bush won in the Electoral College. It is arguably more of a problem than it is worth.

22)Describe what is meant by retrospective voting, including examples of how it has affected presidential elections. Is retrospective voting an appropriate way to choose a President and other public officials? Is retrospective voting adequate, or would you prefer other criteria? Explain. Retrospective voting is how the voter determines the performance of the party in power.If the President that is in office is doing poorly, the public may feel that the other party will do a better job in office. The evaluation the record of an office holder is one of the primary reasons why this system is better for the voting public officials. I think it makes sense for the local level because many times representatives are reelected for the same position many of times. Certain changes could be made to that area if someone else comes in and brings new ideas by the publics demand.

23)What are the two major tasks accomplished by elections according to democratic theory? Why is it often difficult for voters to vote based on a candidate's public policy preferences? Does this weaken democracy? Explain.
Win election(for candidate) and increase political power of the elected officials party(democrat or republican). Normally voters don't hear much about a candidates policies and elections are won and lost off name recognition. This weakens democracy because it favors incumbents and doesn't promote change. The people who support the same policies as the voters are not being elected.

24)Describe the major differences in voter behavior between 1960 and 2004?
The major difference between voter behavior between 1960 and 2004 is that voter turnout has decreased dramatically. There are many factors that attribute to this change, but weak political parties not being able to attract voters is a source of this problem. Also, in the 1960's and 70's, voter turnout started increasing because of the 26th amendment (which lowered the voting age to 18) and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which extended voting privileges to African Americans. Thus, the voter turnout in the South has increased dramatically, coming close to that of the North in recent years. Furthermore, women's vote has changed from the early 1900's sexist view of leaning republican based on the physical appearance of the candidate. Since 1984, there has been a "gender gap" in which the majority of women vote democratic. Lastly, ticket-splitting is overwhelming prevalent now compared to the 1960's, which can also be attributed to weak political parties.

25) Evaluate elections in America in terms of their role in the democratic process and their effect on the scope of government. How do elections affect, and how are they affected by, public policy?
Elections in the United States serve many purposes in their scope of the government. Elections show which issues need to be tended to as the candidate with the more concerning issue will receive a greater number of votes. It also shows which areas are supporting which candidates for specific reasons. Therefore, the election shows the concerns of Americans from all over the United States and shows the government problems that need a change. Public policy is what the government decides to do or not to do. In other words, if the government doesn't do something that is needed, then the people will choose a candidate that will.

26)In what sense is the relationship between elections and public policy a two-way street? That is, how do elections affect public policy? And how does public policy affect elections?
First, elections determine the official who can produce a government's public policy. Inversely, it is ultimately the public's happiness with the the policy of elected officials that determines whether or not they will elect this official to make policy again. If an official is responsible for unpopular policy, the public will (hopefully) not elect him/her again.

27)Evaluate elections in America in terms of their role in the democratic process and their effect on the scope of government. How do elections affect, and how are they affected by, public policy?

Democratic is controlled by representatives who are elected by the people of a country. Election is very important in political country. Since people decide representatives of government, politicians have to favor by voters. Less public policy --> Less chance of get elected.

28) Discuss the significance of the midterm election of 1994. The midterm election of 1994 took place during President Clinton's first term in office. During this election the Republicans took both the House and the Senate under a Democratic President. Such an event had not happened since Truman in 1946.

The midterm election of 1994 was significant because the Republican Party gained a majority of seats in the House. This was the first time they had done so since 1954.

29)What are the different types of primaries?

1. Winner-take-all primary
2. Proportional representation primary
3. “Beauty contest” primary
4. Caucus

30)Why would a state, like California did recently, change from a closed to an open type of primary?
Probably because in an open primary, voters can vote in secret. They do not have to be a member of the specific party to vote for one of it's candidates. Also, voters can only vote in one primary, and can not vote for more than one candidate in a party.

31)Compare and contrast caucuses and primaries as methods of presidential nomination.
Caucuses are the oldest way of choosing delegates. Caucuses are closed gatherings in each state of political activists who chose the state's representatives. Primaries allow anyone no matter of social or economic class to participate. Most states changed from holding caucuses to primaries because many people believed caucuses to be elitist and undemocratic. The caucuses that are still in use in some of the states have come to closely resemble primaries.

32)What happens in off-year elections, and why?
off year elections are general elections held in odd-numbered years. On the ballot are many mayors, a wide variety of citizen initiatives in various states, and many more local public offices. On 2007, off-year elections will happen in 11/6/07. Kentucky and Mississippi will elect governors on the 2007 Election Day.
33)Name two reasons for low voter turnout, and discuss them.
It is hard to register: The United States puts it on the citizens to register to vote rather than automatically registering all of the citizens able to vote. This puts pressure on the person to register at the proper time.
Voters Attitudes: Apathy is a common reason for not voting. If the issues that are brought up do not interest them and they do not care about the election, people tend to not bother to vote. Lack of trust in political leaders has also led to a decline.

34)What is the difference between a partisan election and a nonpartisan election?

A partisan election is an election with candidates who are running in representation for a political party. Usually, state and national elections are partisan elections. A non-partisan election is an election with candidates without political parties. Usually, many city and town elections are non-partisan elections.
35)What are initiative, referendum, and recall?
An initiative is an election in which citizens propose legislation and submit it to the state electorate for popular vote. A referendum is the election in which the state legislature submits the proposed legislation to the state's voters for approval. Lastly, a recall is when voters can petition for a vote to remove office holders between elections.

36)Discuss the nature of presidential elections from the nomination process through the general election.
So the candidate for each party is nominated through the primary election, at the beginning of the year of the general election then national conventions of each party are held. Then on to the general election where legal citizens vote for a candidate for president. However, the direct popular vote is not the final decision, because the electoral college then comes in to play. Voters in each state vote for electors who vote for the actual presidential candidate. The amount of electors for each state relies on it's congressional representation.


37)Discuss the history of national party conventions and how they have changed in recent years. Be sure to discuss delegates, rules, platforms, media coverage, and other aspects of the national convention.
A National Party Convention is a meeting held for the purpose of selecting a presidential and vice presidential ticket and to adopt a platform. The first party to hold a National Convention was the Anti-Masonic Party in 1831. Over the years the actual purpose i.e. selecting a Presidential ticket has diminished in importance because the ticket is decided in advance.


38)Discuss congressional elections including the role of incumbency. There are many trends that Congressional elections tend to follow. First and foremost, incumbents almost always win reelection. If there is a scandal in the office, an incumbent will usually resign rather than chance a loss in the election. Second, Congressional elections usually favor the party out of power in off year elections, especially in the 6th year of a President's 8 year term. One exception to this was the Congressional elections in 2002 in which the Republicans actually gained numerous seats in the Senate and the House. But as history has proven, may of these seats were lost in the 2006 Congressional elections, the 6th year of Bush's 8 year term.

39)Using examples from federal elections since 1984, discuss the differences between off-year and presidential elections.
Presidential elections and off-year elections are different because in presidential elections there is obviously a presidential election along with the other elections. Off-year elections have the regular elections including representative and congressmen seats. However, when running in an off-year election it is in a disadvantage to be a member of the party that is in office.

40)Discuss voter turnout. Who votes and why? What proposals exist to increase voter turnout, and how effective are they likely to be?

Voter turnout is the number of voting age citizens that vote vs. the number that does not. The people that seem to vote are those with a higher education, higher income, and those older than 30 years of age. This seems to be because those who have more money, and a better education care more about what is happening within the government, as well as the simple fact that people under 30 just don't. In order to increase the number of people voting, changes are being made to make registration easier, election day a holiday and strengthening political parties. The number of voters between 2000 and 2004 increased, so a continual raise in numbers is ideal and hopefully the ideas proposed with be effective.

41)Discuss the intent and the impact of the Motor Voter Act.
The Motor Voter Act, also known as the National Voter Registration Act, was made to make it easier for people to register to vote. Although many states initially questioned the constitutionality of this act, it was enforced in 44 states and increased the amount of people who voted overall.//