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GOV CH 7-2 VOTING

Multiple Choice
Identify the choice that best completes the statement or answers the question.
 
 
Section 2 Elections
· The election process is regulated mostly by State law.
· Most ballots are cast at polling places in thousands of precincts around the country. However, absentee voting, early voting, and vote-by-mail are becoming increasingly common.
· Every State now uses the Australian ballot, which is of either the party-column or the office-group type.
· Various types of electronic voting and/or vote-counting devices are rapidly replacing both lever-operated voting machines and punch-card ballot devices in most States today.
Objectives
1. Analyze how the administration of elections in the United States helps make democracy work.
2. Define the role of precincts and polling places in the election process.
3. Describe the various ways in which voters can cast their ballots.
4. Outline the role that voting devices play in the election process.
Why It Matters
The election process lies at the very heart of the democratic concept. Indeed, it is impossible to picture a democratic government in which popular elections are not held.
Political Dictionary

absentee voting
Provisions made for those unable to get to their regular polling places on election day.

coattail effect
The effect of a strong candidate running for an office at the top of a ballot helping to attract voters to other candidates on the party’s ticket

precinct
The smallest unit of election administration; a voting district

polling place
The place where the voters who live in a certain precinct go to vote

ballot
The device voters use to register a choice in an election

Many high school students are not old enough to vote. In some parts of the country, however, high school students can serve on local election boards. First in Hawaii and Oregon and now in several States, 16- and 17-year-olds can become full-fledged members of the panels that administer elections.
Americans hold more elections and vote more often than most people realize. Indeed, Sundays and holidays are about the only days of the year on which people do not go to the polls somewhere in the United States. Americans also elect far more officeholders than most people realize—in fact, more than 500,000 of them
 

 1. 

Who has the primary responsibility for elections?
a.
The federal government
c.
The United Nations
b.
The States
d.
City Councils
 

 2. 

Most states now use the
a.
Southern ballots
c.
Yankee ballot
b.
Australian ballot
d.
Open ballot
 

 3. 

Vote counting in the U.S. is being switched to _____ counting.
a.
electronic
c.
punch card
b.
manual
d.
electoral college type
 
 
The Administration of Elections
Democratic government cannot succeed unless elections are free, honest, and accurate. Many people see the details of the election process as too complicated, too legalistic, too dry and boring to worry about. Those who do miss the vital part those details play in making democracy work. How something can be done very often shapes what is in fact done—and that fact is as true in politics as it is in other matters. The often lengthy and closely detailed provisions of election law are meant to protect the integrity of the electoral process. And those provisions often have a telling effect on the outcome of elections. You saw how important the details of election law can be when you looked at voter qualifications and voter registration in the last chapter and again just a few pages ago when you considered the complexities of the direct primary.
 

 4. 

How something can be done very often shapes what is in fact done means ......
a.
there are too many rules in elections
c.
elections are not democratic
b.
election rules can effect the outcome of elections
d.
elections are too democratic
 
 
Extent of Federal Control
Nearly all elections in the United States are held to choose the more than 500,000 persons who hold elective office in the more than 87,000 units of government at the State and local levels. It is quite understandable, then, that most election law in the United States is State—not federal—law.
Despite this fact, a body of federal election law does exist. The Constitution gives Congress the power to fix “[t]he Times, Places, and Manner of holding Elections” of members of Congress.10 Congress also has the power to set the time for choosing presidential electors, to set the date for casting the electoral votes, and to regulate other aspects of the presidential election process.11
Congress has set the date for holding congressional elections as the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November of every even-numbered year. It has set the same date every fourth year for the presidential election.12 Thus, the next congressional elections will be held on November 7, 2006; and the next presidential election falls on November 4, 2008.
Congress has required the use of secret ballots and allowed the use of voting machines in federal elections. It has also acted to protect the right to vote, as you saw in Chapter 6; and it has prohibited various corrupt practices and regulated the financing of campaigns for federal office, as you will see in the pages ahead.
Congress expanded the body of federal election law with the passage of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. That law came in response to the many ballot and voter registration problems that plagued several States in the presidential election in 2000 (see pages 380–381).
In its major provisions, the new law requires the States to
· replace all their lever-operated and punch-card voting devices by the year 2006;
· upgrade their administration of elections, especially through the better training of local election officials and of those (mostly low-paid workers and volunteers) who work in precinct polling places on election day;
· centralize and computerize their voter registration systems, to facilitate the identification of qualified voters on election day and so minimize fraudulent voting;
· provide for provisional voting, so a person whose eligibility to vote has been challenged can cast a ballot that will be counted if it is later found that he or she, is in fact, qualified to vote.
State law deals with all other matters relating to national elections—and with all of the details of State and local elections, as well.
 

 5. 

Because of the problems in the 2000 elections, Congress passed
a.
the Civil Rights Voting Act
c.
Help America Vote Act
b.
a Poll Tax Ban
d.
Campaign Finance Act
 
 
Election Day
Most States hold their elections to fill State offices on the same date Congress has set for national elections: in November of every even-numbered year. The “Tuesday-after-the-first-Monday” formula prevents election day from falling on (1) Sundays (to maintain the principle of separation of church and state) and (2) the first day of the month, which is often payday and therefore peculiarly subject to campaign pressures.
Some States do fix other dates for some offices, however. Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia elect the governor, other executive officers, and State legislators in November of odd-numbered years. In Kentucky, the governor and other executive officers are chosen in odd-numbered years, but legislators are elected in even-numbered years. City, county, and other local election dates vary from State to State. When those elections are not held in November, they generally take place in the spring.
 

 6. 

Congress has set ____ as the day for federal elections.
a.
Tuesday after the first Monday in November
c.
any none-weekend or holiday
b.
Monday after the first Tuesday in November
d.
Labor Day
 

 7. 

Most states schedule state elections
a.
in the Spring
c.
on the Tuesday following the first Monday after one week federal elections
b.
on the same day as federal elections
d.
in the Summer
 
 
Early Voting
Millions of Americans cast their ballots before election day. Indeed, some 20 million did so in 2004, many of them by absentee voting—a process by which they could vote without actually going to their polling places on election day. Almost everywhere, voters can apply for an absentee ballot some weeks before an election, then mark those ballots and return them to the local election office, usually by mail and before election day.
Absentee voting was originally intended to serve a relatively small group of voters, especially the ill or disabled and those who expected to be away from home on election day. Most States have broadened their laws over recent years, however—to the point where, in most of them, any qualified voter can now cast an absentee ballot.
More than half the States now also provide for another form of early voting. They allow voters to cast their ballots at any time over a period of several days before an election—not as an absentee ballot but as though they were voting on election day itself.
 

 8. 

Early voting is called voting by _____ .
a.
email
c.
the Australian ballot
b.
noon
d.
absentee ballot
 
 
The Coattail Effect
The coattail effect occurs when a strong candidate running for an office at the top of the ballot helps attract voters to other candidates on the party’s ticket. In effect, the lesser-known office seeker “rides the coattails” of the more prestigious personality. In 1980 and 1984, for example, Ronald Reagan’s coattails helped many Republican candidates win office. The coattail effect is usually most apparent in presidential elections. However, a popular candidate for senator or governor can have the same kind of pulling power.
A reverse coattail effect can occur, too. This happens when a candidate for some major office is less than popular with many voters—for example, Barry Goldwater as the Republican presidential nominee in 1964, and George McGovern for the Democrats in 1972. President Jimmy Carter’s coattails were also of the reverse variety in 1980.
Some people have long argued that all State and local elections should be held on dates other than those set for federal elections. This, they say, would help voters pay more attention to State and local candidates and issues and lessen the coattail effects of presidential contests.
 

 9. 

What is the coattail effect?
a.
when a very popular candidate helps other candidates to get elected because of his popularity
c.
being elected to the Senate and House of Representatives at the same time
b.
sharing money and other resources to help each other get elected
d.
running an election and being elected with very little money
 
 
Precincts and Polling Places
A precinct is a voting district. Precincts are the smallest geographic units for the conduct of elections. State law regularly restricts their size, generally to an area with no more than 500 to 1,000 or so qualified voters. A polling place—the place where the voters who live in a precinct actually vote—is located somewhere in or near each precinct.
A precinct election board supervises the polling place and the voting process in each precinct. Typically, the county clerk or county board of elections draws precinct lines, fixes the location of each polling place, and picks the members of the precinct boards.
The precinct board opens and closes the polls at the times set by State law. In most States, the polls are open from 7:00 or 8:00 A.M. to 7:00 or 8:00 P.M. The precinct election board must also see that the ballots and the ballot boxes or voting machines are available. It must make certain that only qualified voters cast ballots in the precinct. Often the board also counts the votes cast in the precinct and then sends the results to the proper place, usually to the county clerk or county board of elections.
Poll watchers, one from each party, are allowed at each polling place. They may challenge any person they believe is not qualified to vote, check to be sure that their own party’s supporters do vote, and monitor the whole process, including the counting of the ballots.
 

 10. 

Precincts are
a.
groupings of like minded voters
c.
the buildings where voters vote
b.
geographical areas for the organization of voters
d.
the boundaries of congressional districts
 
 
Casting the Ballot
A ballot is the device by which a voter registers a choice in an election.15 It can take a number of different forms. Whatever its form, however, it is clearly an important and sensitive part of the election process.
Each State now provides for a secret ballot. That is, State law requires that ballots be cast in such manner that others cannot know how a person has voted.
Voting was a public process through much of the nation’s earlier history, however. Paper ballots were used in some colonial elections, but voting was more commonly
viva voce—by voice. Voters simply stated their choices to an election board. With suffrage limited to the privileged few, many people defended oral voting as the only “manly” way in which to participate. Whatever the merits of that view, the expansion of the electorate brought with it a marked increase in intimidation, vote buying, and other corruptions of the voting process.
Paper ballots were in general use by the mid-1800s. The first ones were unofficial—slips of paper that voters prepared themselves and dropped in the ballot box. Soon candidates and parties began to prepare ballots and hand them to voters to cast, sometimes paying them to do so. Those party ballots were often printed on distinctively colored paper, and anyone watching could tell for whom voters were voting.
Political machines—local party organizations capable of mobilizing or “manufacturing” large numbers of votes on behalf of candidates for political office—flourished in many places in the latter 1800s. They fought all attempts to make voting a more dependably fair and honest process. The political corruption of the post-Civil War years brought widespread demand for ballot reforms.
 

 11. 

Ballots in the United States are
a.
cast so everyone knows your vote
c.
published in the newspaper
b.
secret
d.
published on the Internet
 
 
The Office-Group Ballot
The office-group ballot is the original form of the Australian ballot. It is also sometimes called the Massachusetts ballot because of its early (1888) use there. On the office-group ballot, the candidates for an office are grouped together under the title of that office. Because the names of the candidates thus appear as a block, the form is also sometimes called the office-block ballot.
At first, the names of the candidates were listed in alphabetical order. Most States using the form now rotate the names—so that each candidate will have whatever psychological advantage there may be in having his or her name at the top of the list of candidates.
 

 12. 

What is an “Office Group Ballot?”
a.
candidates are grouped under the office they are seeking
c.
a ballot that is given out at the offices where people work
b.
candidates are printed randomly throughout the ballot
d.
a ballot that permits voters to vote for as many candidates as they want for a specific office
 
 
The Party-Column Ballot
The party-column ballot is also known as the Indiana ballot, from its early (1889) use in that State. It lists each party’s candidates in a column under the party’s name.
Professional politicians tend to favor the party-column ballot. It encourages straight-ticket voting, especially if the party has a strong candidate at the head of the ticket. Most students of the political process favor the office-group form because it encourages voter judgment and split-ticket voting.
 

 13. 

Party column ballots make it easy
a.
to see the office a candidate is running for
c.
vote for candidates from different parties
b.
to vote for everyone in the same party at once
d.
for independent voters to find non-aligned candidates
 
 
Sample Ballots
Sample ballots, clearly marked as such, are available in most States before an election. In some States they are mailed to all voters, and they appear in most newspapers. They cannot be cast, but they can help voters prepare for an election.
First in Oregon (1907), and now in several States, an official voter’s pamphlet is mailed to voters before every election. It lists all candidates and measures that will appear on the ballot. In Oregon, each candidate is allowed space to present his or her qualifications and position on the issues. Supporters and opponents of ballot measures are allowed space to present their arguments as well.
 

 14. 

Sample ballots are given to voters
a.
usually at the polling places at the time of the election
c.
by mail so they can plan who to vote for
b.
so they can change their minds after voting for a candidate
d.
who have the money to pay for them
 
 
Bedsheet Ballots
The ballot in a typical American election is lengthy, often and aptly called a “bedsheet” ballot. It frequently lists so many offices, candidates, and ballot measures that even the most well-informed voters have a difficult time marking it intelligently.
The long ballot came to American politics in the era of Jacksonian Democracy in the 1830s. Many held the view at the time that the greater the number of elective offices, the more democratic the governmental system. The idea remains widely accepted today.
Generally, the longest ballots are found at the local level, especially among the nation’s 3,000-odd counties. The list of elected offices is likely to include several commissioners, a clerk, a sheriff, one or more judges, a prosecutor, coroner, treasurer, assessor, surveyor, school superintendent, engineer, sanitarian, and even the proverbial dogcatcher.
Critics of the bed-sheet ballot reject the notion that the more people you elect, the more democratic you are. Instead, they say, the fewer the offices voters have to fill, the better they can know the candidates and their qualifications. Those critics often point to the factor of “ballot fatigue”—that is, to the drop-off in voting that can run as high as 20 to 30 percent at or near the bottom of the typical (lengthy) ballot.
There seems little, if any, good reason to elect such local officials as clerks, coroners, surveyors, and engineers. Their jobs do not carry basic policy-making responsibilities. Rather, they carry out policies made by others. Many believe that to shorten the ballot and promote good government, the rule should be: Elect those who make public policies; appoint those whose job it is to administer those policies.
 

 15. 

Bedsheet ballots
a.
are ballots with only a few candidates and issue on them
c.
are given to illegal aliens
b.
are easy to understand
d.
tend to be confusing because there are so many candidates and issues on them
 

Multiple Response
Identify one or more choices that best complete the statement or answer the question.
 
 
Section 2 Elections
· The election process is regulated mostly by State law.
· Most ballots are cast at polling places in thousands of precincts around the country. However, absentee voting, early voting, and vote-by-mail are becoming increasingly common.
· Every State now uses the Australian ballot, which is of either the party-column or the office-group type.
· Various types of electronic voting and/or vote-counting devices are rapidly replacing both lever-operated voting machines and punch-card ballot devices in most States today.
Objectives
1. Analyze how the administration of elections in the United States helps make democracy work.
2. Define the role of precincts and polling places in the election process.
3. Describe the various ways in which voters can cast their ballots.
4. Outline the role that voting devices play in the election process.
Why It Matters
The election process lies at the very heart of the democratic concept. Indeed, it is impossible to picture a democratic government in which popular elections are not held.
Political Dictionary

absentee voting
Provisions made for those unable to get to their regular polling places on election day.

coattail effect
The effect of a strong candidate running for an office at the top of a ballot helping to attract voters to other candidates on the party’s ticket

precinct
The smallest unit of election administration; a voting district

polling place
The place where the voters who live in a certain precinct go to vote

ballot
The device voters use to register a choice in an election

Many high school students are not old enough to vote. In some parts of the country, however, high school students can serve on local election boards. First in Hawaii and Oregon and now in several States, 16- and 17-year-olds can become full-fledged members of the panels that administer elections.
Americans hold more elections and vote more often than most people realize. Indeed, Sundays and holidays are about the only days of the year on which people do not go to the polls somewhere in the United States. Americans also elect far more officeholders than most people realize—in fact, more than 500,000 of them
 

 16. 

How are votes cast in the United States (pick 4)
 a.
early voting
 d.
email voting
 b.
Internet voting
 e.
voting in precincts
 c.
vote-by-mail
 f.
absentee voting
 
 
Extent of Federal Control
Nearly all elections in the United States are held to choose the more than 500,000 persons who hold elective office in the more than 87,000 units of government at the State and local levels. It is quite understandable, then, that most election law in the United States is State—not federal—law.
Despite this fact, a body of federal election law does exist. The Constitution gives Congress the power to fix “[t]he Times, Places, and Manner of holding Elections” of members of Congress.10 Congress also has the power to set the time for choosing presidential electors, to set the date for casting the electoral votes, and to regulate other aspects of the presidential election process.11
Congress has set the date for holding congressional elections as the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November of every even-numbered year. It has set the same date every fourth year for the presidential election.12 Thus, the next congressional elections will be held on November 7, 2006; and the next presidential election falls on November 4, 2008.
Congress has required the use of secret ballots and allowed the use of voting machines in federal elections. It has also acted to protect the right to vote, as you saw in Chapter 6; and it has prohibited various corrupt practices and regulated the financing of campaigns for federal office, as you will see in the pages ahead.
Congress expanded the body of federal election law with the passage of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. That law came in response to the many ballot and voter registration problems that plagued several States in the presidential election in 2000 (see pages 380–381).
In its major provisions, the new law requires the States to
· replace all their lever-operated and punch-card voting devices by the year 2006;
· upgrade their administration of elections, especially through the better training of local election officials and of those (mostly low-paid workers and volunteers) who work in precinct polling places on election day;
· centralize and computerize their voter registration systems, to facilitate the identification of qualified voters on election day and so minimize fraudulent voting;
· provide for provisional voting, so a person whose eligibility to vote has been challenged can cast a ballot that will be counted if it is later found that he or she, is in fact, qualified to vote.
State law deals with all other matters relating to national elections—and with all of the details of State and local elections, as well.
 

 17. 

Even though the Constitution makes the states the main authority in elections, the U.S. government has wide authority in regulating ... (pick 2)
 a.
congressional elections
 c.
Supreme Court elections
 b.
presidential elections
 d.
state legislatures
 
 
The Australian Ballot
A new voting arrangement was devised in Australia, where it was first used in an election in Victoria in 1856. Its successes there led to its use in other countries. By 1900 nearly all of the States were using it, and it remains the basic form of the ballot in this country today.
The Australian Ballot has four essential features:
1. It is printed at public expense;
2. It lists the names of all candidates in an election;
3. It is given out only at the polls, one to each qualified voter; and
4. It is marked in secret.
Two basic varieties of the Australian ballot have developed over the years. Most States now use the office-group ballot. Only a handful of States use the party-column ballot.
 

 18. 

What are the four essentials of the Australian ballot? (pick 4)
 a.
it can be secret or open
 d.
only parties are printed, not candidates
 b.
the names of the candidates are printed on the ballot
 e.
the ballot is secret
 c.
you have to go to the polling place to get one
 f.
the government pays for the printing
 

Essay
 
 
Vote-by-Mail Elections
A number of States conduct some elections by mail. Voters receive a ballot in the mail, make their choices, then mail the ballot back to election officials. The first such election was held in Monterey County, California, in 1977; and the first large-scale use of mail-in ballots took place in San Diego in 1981.
Usually, vote-by-mail elections have been confined to the local level and to voting on city or county measures, not on candidates for local offices. A few States do choose local officials by mail-in ballots, however.
Usually, vote-by-mail elections have been confined to the local level and to voting on city or county measures, not on candidates for local offices. A few States do choose local officials by mail-in ballots, however.
In fact, Oregon now holds all of its elections by mail and has done so since 1998. The State held the first-ever all-mail primary election and the first-ever all-mail general election (including the presidential election) in 2000.
Vote-by-mail elections have stirred controversy, of course. Critics fear that the process threatens the principle of the secret ballot. They worry about fraud, especially the possibility that some voters may be subjected to undue pressures when they mark their ballots at home or any place other than within the security of a voting booth.
Supporters, on the other hand, say that vote-by-mail elections can be as fraud-proof as any other method of voting. They also cite this fact: The mail-in process usually increases voter turnout in elections and, at the same time, reduces the costs of conducting them
Online Voting
Online voting—casting ballots via the Internet—has attracted considerable attention (and some support) in the past few years. Will e-voting become widespread—even commonplace, as some predict? Clearly, only time will tell.
Online voting is not an entirely new phenomenon. The first e-vote was cast in November 1997. In that year, election officials in Harris County, Texas, permitted astronaut David Wolf to vote in Houston’s city election by e-mail from the space station
Mir.
The first public elections in which some votes were cast by computer were held in 2000. In Arizona, some of the ballots cast in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary in March were cast online. And, for the general election in November, the Defense Department ran a very limited project in which 84 members of the military stationed abroad voted. As noted earlier, however, DOD abandoned plans for a much larger project in 2004. Some 46,000 voters (28 percent of the total turnout) did vote by computer in the Democratic Party’s presidential caucuses in Michigan in February of 2004.
A number of public officials in several States and a number of dot.com companies promote online voting. These supporters claim that it will make participation much more convenient, increase voter turnout, and reduce the costs of conducting elections.
Many skeptics believe that the electronic infrastructure is not ready for e-voting. Some fear digital disaster: jammed phone lines, blocked access, hackers, viruses, denials of service attacks, fraudulent vote counts, and violations of voter secrecy. Critics also point out that because not everyone can afford home computers, online voting could undermine basic American principles of equality.
 

 19. 

Read the articles about voting by mail and online voting. What are the good points about voting by these methods?. What problems do you see with voting by these methods?
Write a short essay and explain your ideas.
 



 
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