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01:790:104 (22)


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Rutgers University
Political Science
Anna Mahoney

Elections American Elections • Universal adult suffrage- all citizens over the age of 18 have the right to vote • SecretAustralian ballots o You are voting for a person instead of a partisan slate; voting for the candidates themselves • Almost all offices are single-member districts with equal populations o Particularly true at the federal level o One person representing a district and those districts have a roughly equal population • The candidate who wins the most votes among the candidates wins (don’t have to have 51%, just more votes than everyone else) o Particularly applies to general elections Universal Suffrage • Voting restrictions o Felon voting restrictions: People in prison can’t vote o Voter ID laws  We have to prevent fraud, make sure our elections have integrity, preventing people from voting more than once  However, any restriction put on voting makes it harder for people to vote  We want it for easy for people to vote but we don’t want elections to be corrupt!  Republican legislators have especially been backing this law • On January 17, 2014 the court ruled the voter ID law unconstitutional and unduly burdensome for Pennsylvania voters. Judge Bernard L. McGinley issued an order to permanently enjoin the voter ID law o Pennsylvania: Battleground state, could go either way. Parties want the support of this state because it is powerful • The Supreme Court is looking at a part of this legislation and is declaring it unconstitutional (judicial review) • 34 states have passed laws requiring voters to show some sort of identification at polls o These laws have not been passed in Democratic states! • Just because there is universal suffrage doesn’t mean that everyone who is eligible to vote is actually voting Turnout • Turnout rate: The number of people who vote in a given election divided by the number of people who are allowed to vote o Voting-age VS voting-eligible denominator o 315 mil Americans, approx. 217 mil are eligible to vote o However, 180 mil actually registered to vote o Nature of the election matters  2010- 41%  2012- 58.2% • You have to figure out- how many people are felons? How many people cannot vote? Who voted VS who is over the age of 18/eligible to vote • The fewer people vote in elections, the better it is for Republicans • President at top of ticket makes people more likely to vote (high turnout) • State legislature races- low turnout o Huge landslide with small turnout isn’t as big of a deal (ex. Chris Christie’s reelection for governor) Three Electoral Systems • Majority Systems: Winner of majority o 50% of the vote plus 1 o Used in man primaries, though sometime it can have a run off  Primary elections: Democrats vs Democrats, Republicans vs Republicans • Plurality Systems: Most votes in an election o Not necessarily a majority of the votes cast o As long as you get more votes than the other guys o All General Elections • Proportional representation- Seats according to the % of votes you get o Multiple parties get spots  You’re voting for parties and those parties get a proportion of seats o Two party competition is not as strong, lots of parties o You have to build coalitions and convi
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