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Title: Elections

  • AP Government
  • Unit 3

Functions of Elections
  • Serve to
  • Legitimize governments
  • Fill public offices
  • Allow people with different views/policy agendas
    to come to power
  • Ensure government remains accountable to people.
  • Allows for political change

Functions of Elections
  • Allowed us to avoid
  • Riots
  • General strikes
  • Coups d'etats

Why Dont Americans Vote?
  • Long and complex ballots
  • Confusing to voters
  • People poorly informed
  • Disaffection
  • Determined by money and special interest support
  • Loss of trust in government
  • Legal barriers--Some not allowed to vote
  • Today Photo ID Rules
  • 15th, 19th, 23rd, 24th, and 26th Amendments fixed
    many legal barriers

Why Dont Americans Vote?
  • 5. Other Legal Requirements
  • Age Requirements
  • Citizenship Requirements
  • Not close and some voters feel its not necessary
  • Young people/minorities less likely to vote.
  • Political parties dont mobilize voters (distant
    national bureaucracies)
  • No easy universal voter registration.
  • Requires effort (cost) without any cost for

Young People
  • 2004 20.1 million 18-29 year-olds voted, a 4.3
    million jump over 2000. 
  • Turnout increase among youngest voters more than
    double that of any other age group.
  • 2006 18-29 year-olds turnout grew by nearly 2
    million over 2002 levels.
  • Turnout among youngest voters grew by 3
    percentage points over 2002 levels, twice turnout
    increase of older voters.
  • 2008 18-29 year-olds turnout grew to almost 50!

Registering To Vote
  • Voter Registration
  • System adopted by states that requires voters to
    register in advance
  • Motor Voter Act
  • Requires states to permit people to register to
    vote when they apply for drivers license.
  • Millions added to electorate but election
    outcomes not affected

Link on how to register in Cobb County
Efforts to Lower Costs Voting
  • Same day registration
  • Easing of registration regulations
  • No picture ID required in most states
  • Show many forms of ID
  • Expansion of ballot access
  • absentee or mail balloting
  • Early voting (GA)
  • other mechanisms (internet)??

Same Day Registration
  • Produces higher turnout
  • At least 30 of American adults change their home
    address every 2 years ---must re-register!

Political Consequences of Turnout
  • Do fewer voters help Republicans or Democrats?
  • Usually Republicans
  • Increasing categories of voters can make a
    difference in either party
  • Who usually wins elections- challengers or
  • Incumbents (90 in House and 70 in Senate)
  • Who does higher turnout help? Incumbent OR
  • Generally helps challenger but incumbents usually
    still win


Seven Types of Elections
  • Caucus
  • Primary Elections
  • General Elections
  • Initiatives
  • Referendums
  • Recall elections
  • Run-off elections

  • Political party gathers to make policy decisions
    and to select candidates.
  • Straw ballots or nonbinding elections may take
    place in a caucus

Iowa Caucus
  • Most important because its 1st
  • Garners disproportionate number of candidate
    visits and amount of media attention. 
  • Better than expected showing on caucus night can
    boost candidacy

Primary Elections
  • Select party nominees for general election
  • Held on different days in different states
  • Most states force voters to vote in only 1
    primary (Dem or Rep)
  • Run by parties for benefit of parties
  • In 1-party states, primary election IS only
    election that matters

New Hampshire
  • Most Important Primary
  • Major testing ground for candidates for Rep. and
    Dem. nominations.
  • Attracts most attention
  • Candidates who do poorly usually have to drop
  • Little known, under funded candidates who do well
    suddenly become contenders
  • Some candidates spend 8-12 months there BEFORE

Primary elections different types
  • Open primaries
  • Can enter voting booth then decide on party
    primary in which you will vote
  • Closed primaries
  • Must reveal your party/be registered member of
    that party to vote
  • Blanket (or love) Primaries
  • Voters may choose from both party
  • Voter might select Dem. for governor and Rep. for

Primaries and Delegates (Superdelegates)
  • Each party holds primary/caucus
  • Political elites from parties selected as pledged
  • Delegates must vote as state voted on 1st ballot
  • Both parties have unpledged delegates who not
    obligated to vote w/state delegates
  • Democrats
  • Currently 4,049 total delegates to DNC 3,253
    pledged, 796 unpledged or superdelegates.
  • Total of delegate votes needed to win 2,025.
  • Republicans
  • Currently 2,380 total delegates to RNC 1,917
    pledged, 463 unpledged delegates.

Primaries and Delegates (Superdelegates)
  • Superdelegates dont have to indicate candidate
    preference, compete for position.
  • Typically members of national committee, elected
    officials like senators or governors, or party

General Elections
  • Elect office holders
  • 3 types
  • Off-year elections (2011, 2013, 2015..)
  • Generally odd years. Include mayoral races,
    school boards, etc..
  • Presidential election years (2000-2004-2008-2012)
  • Party nominated candidates and independents
  • First Tuesday after first Monday in November
  • Midterm elections (2002-2006-2010)
  • General election but no presidential race
  • Still first Tuesday after first Monday in
  • Both party-nominated candidates and independents
    but fewer voters

General Election Turnout
  • Voter turnout highest for general elections
  • In presidential years, general election turnout
  • In midterm elections, general election turnout
    decreases in most states

  • Allow citizens to propose legislation and submit
    it to popular vote.
  • Popular in CA and western states
  • Initiative 85 - Parental Notification before
    Termination of Teen's Pregnancy
  • Initiative 86 - Increase on Cigarette Tax
  • Initiative 87 - Funding for alternative forms of
  • Initiative 88 - Property Parcel Tax to fund for

  • Allows legislature to submit proposed legislation
    for popular approval.
  • Special elections on certain topics or issues
  • State voters approve or disapprove proposed
  • Often used for constitutional amendments
  • I.E. GA Legislature
  • sponsored
  • Marriage Amendment
  • Passed with overwhelming support

Georgia Marriage Amendment
Constitutional Amendment 1 appeared on the ballot
in Georgia as a legislatively-referred amendment
on November 2, 2004. The results are shown below.

Shall the Constitution be amended so as to
provide that this state shall recognize as
marriage only the union of man and woman?
Question 1 Question 1 Question 1
Result Votes Percentage
 Yes 2,454,930 76.2
No 768,716 23.8
Recall Elections
  • Allow citizens to remove someone from office.
  • Voters decide whether or not to vote out an
  • CA recalled Governor Gray Davis and elected
    Arnold Schwarzenegger

Runoff Elections
  • Allow citizens to pick from top 2 vote candidates
    AFTER primary or general election.
  • GA allows run-offs.
  • Many other states do not.

Instant Runoff
  • Allows ballot to be recounted if no candidate
    wins a majority.
  • Voters rank all the candidates (1-2-3)
  • AKA Transferable Vote System

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Yellow Dog Democrat
  • Staunch loyalist to Dem. Party.
  • Term first occurred in 1928 elections, when Al
    Smith ran for President against Herbert Hoover.
  • Southerners hated Hoover, popular saying, "I'd
    vote for a yellow dog if he ran on the Democratic

Blue Dog Democrats
  • Fiscally conservative Democratic
  • Blue Dog Coalition formed in 1995
  • with goal of representing center of House
  • of  Rep. and appealing to mainstream
  • values of public. 
  • Dedicated to set of beliefs that transcend
     partisan politics, including commitment to
    financial stability/ national security of US
  • Currently 26 members  

Blue Dog Districts
Electoral College
  • Framers wanted president chosen by elite of
  • Electoral College established
  • Winner-Take-All system gives bigger emphasis to
    more populated states
  • Except for NE and ME which use divided elector
  • State parties choose electors
  • Usually party elite

The Electoral College
  • How it works
  • Each state has as many votes as it does
    Representatives and Senators.
  • Winner of popular vote typically gets ALL the
    Electoral College votes.
  • Except for NE and ME which divide electoral votes
  • Electors meet in December, votes are reported by
    the vice president in January.
  • If no candidate gets 270 votes (a majority), the
    House of Representatives votes for president,
    with each state getting ONE vote.

How We Elect A President...AKA The Electoral
How We Elect A President...AKA The Electoral
How We Elect A President...AKA The Electoral
How We Elect A President...AKA The Electoral
How We Elect A President...AKA The Electoral
How We Elect A President...AKA The Electoral
How We Elect A President...AKA The Electoral
How We Elect A President...AKA The Electoral
How We Elect A President...AKA The Electoral
How We Elect A President...AKA The Electoral
How We Elect A President...AKA The Electoral
How We Elect A President...AKA The Electoral
Electoral College Map (2000)
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Op-Chart How Much Is Your Vote Worth? This map
shows each state re-sized in proportion to the
relative influence of the individual voters who
live there. The numbers indicate the total
delegates to the Electoral College from each
state, and how many eligible voters a single
delegate from each state represents.
Should We Change the Current Electoral System?
  • Use Popular Vote Instead of E. College
  • Alter Current System
  • Divide electoral votes within states
  • Use popular vote as secondary check
  • Alternative Voting Systems
  • Plurality voting system
  • Hare System (Similar to Transferable Vote System
    but with different rounds)
  • The Borda Count
  • Sequential Pair-Wise Voting

Alternative Voting Systems
  • Voting System 1
  • Plurality
  • A common method of voting is called plurality. In
    this system, each person casts one vote for a
    choice and the option with the option with the
    most votes wins.
  • Voting System 2
  • The Hare System (Similar to Transferable Vote
  • This method involves taking an initial poll in
    which each person casts one vote for his or her
    favorite option. The option receiving the least
    number of first place votes is eliminated, and
    then another poll is taken. Those who originally
    voted for the eliminated option vote for their
    second choice. Continually eliminate the least
    popular option until a single winner emerges.

Alternative Voting Systems
  • Voting System 3-
  • The Borda Count
  • This is a voting method that takes into account
    each voters first, second, and third choices.
  • Each first-choice vote is awarded two points,
    each second choice vote is awarded one point, and
    no point is awarded for a third choice. This way,
    each choice is assigned a point-value.
  • Example For Al Gore has seventeen first-choice
    votes and five second-choice votes, for a total
    of 2(17) 1(15) 39 points.
  • Voting System 4
  • Sequential Pair-Wise Voting
  • This method involves a sequence of head-to-head
  • First, the group votes on any one of two of the
    options and then the preferred option is matched
    with the next option, while the loser is
    eliminated. Continue eliminating the less popular
    option of a pairing, until one remains.

A History of American Elections
From George Washingtons Farewell Address
  • Warned about dangers of political parties
  • the spirit of Party are sufficient to make it
    the interest and the duty of a wise People to
    discourage and restrain it.

Thanks but NO THANKS George
  • Political Parties immediately formed
  • 1800
  • Federalists v Anti-Federalists
  • Big Government v Small Government
  • Hamilton v Jefferson

4 instances where winner of popular vote didnt
get presidency
  • 1824 House selects John Quincy Adams (loser
    Andrew Jackson)
  • 1876 Samuel Tilden wins popular vote,
    Rutherford Hayes wins presidency.
  • 1888 Benjamin Harrison edged in popular vote by
    Grover Cleveland, but Harrison wins in electoral
  • 2000 Gore wins popular vote, Bush takes
    presidency after US Supreme Court decides Florida

Important Elections to Know Critical/Realigning
Elections on Test Important Midterm
Election on Test
  • 1800
  • 1828
  • 1860
  • 1896
  • 1932
  • 1952
  • 1960
  • 1964
  • 1968
  • 1972
  • 1976
  • Who ran?
  • Who won?
  • Why did they win?
  • Who voted for them?
  • Where did they live?
  • What party?
  • What were their political beliefs?
  • 1980
  • 1984
  • 1988
  • 1992
  • 1994
  • 1996
  • 2000
  • 2004
  • 2006
  • 2008
  • 2010

Party Realignment/Critical Elections
  • Occurs when new voting coalition appears in
    election year
  • Often after long period of little party change
  • Critical or realigning elections
  • 1800 (Republican Democrats)
  • 1828 (Jacksonian Democrats)
  • 1860 (Republicans- abolitionists)
  • 1896 (Democrats-Populists and farmers
    Republicans-City and business interests)
  • 1932 (New Deal Coalition Democrats)

Election of 1800
  • Thomas Jefferson (RD)
  • (Republican Democrats)
  • Jeffersonians- states rights
  • John Adams (F)

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Election of 1828
  • Andrew Jackson (D)
  • Common man voters
  • No land requirements
  • John Quincy Adams (F)

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Election of 1860
  • Abraham Lincoln (R)
  • Anti-slavery
  • Stephen Douglas
  • No. Democrat
  • John C. Breckenridge
  • So. Democrat
  • Bell
  • Constitutional Unionist

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Election of 1896
  • William McKinley (R)
  • Pro business and city dwellers
  • William Jennings Bryan (D)

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Election of 1932
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt (D)
  • The powerful New Deal Coalition was born
  • Labor Unions, farmers, Populists,
    African-Americans, Southern whites, and
    socially-conscious individuals
  • Much of this coalition still votes for Democrats
  • Herbert Hoover (R)

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Election of 1948
  • Harry S Truman (D)
  • Unpopular yet politically savvy
  • Thomas Dewey (R)

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Election of 1952
  • Adlai Stevenson(D)
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower (R)
  • The first political commercial to air on
  • I Like Ike!!
  • And the nation did, too!

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Election of 1956
  • Adlai Stevenson(D)
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower (R)
  • His heart attack in the summer of 56 did not
    take away the support of the American people
  • Bigger win than first time!

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Election of 1960
  • John F. Kennedy (D)
  • Television
  • Richard Nixon (R)

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Election of 1964
  • Lyndon B. Johnson (D)
  • Daisy commercial
  • Barry Goldwater (R)

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Election of 1968
  • Richard Nixon (R)
  • Silent majority
  • Southern strategy
  • Humphrey (D)- 1968
  • Democrats are splintered after violence at 1968
    Chicago Convention
  • Wallace (I)-1968
  • Takes away votes in South from Dems

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Election of 1972
  • 1972
  • Nixon (R)
  • Nixon Now!
  • George McGovern (D) 1972
  • Unpopular with political and party elite
  • Selected as nominee at DNC because no one else
    was front runner and he had grassroots support
    from primaries

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Election of 1976
  • Jimmy Carter (D)
  • Washington outsider
  • Gerald Ford (R)
  • Why did you pardon Nixon??

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Election of 1980
  • 1980
  • Ronald Reagan (R)
  • Anyone but Carter mindset
  • Conservative strategy will fix economy
  • Christian Coalition and Moral Majority joined
    forces to elect Republicans (Pro-life)
  • Jimmy Carter (D)
  • Iranian Hostage crisis and sinking economy hurt
    Carters chance for reelection

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Election of 1984
  • Ronald Landslide Reagan (R)
  • Walter Mondale (D)

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Election of 1988
  • George H.W. Bush (R)
  • Reagans VP
  • Was able to use the Reagan successes to get
  • Used negative ads to his advantage
  • Michael Dukakis (D)
  • Governor of MA
  • Debate question and Tank commercial hurt image

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Election of 1992
  • Bill Clinton (D)
  • Its the economy, stupid
  • Used Bushs promise of Read my lips, no new
    taxes brilliantly (James Carville)
  • Perot took away some of the votes that would have
    gone to Bush
  • George HW Bush (R)
  • Out of touch with Americans
  • Ross Perot (Reform)
  • 19 of popular vote- WOW!!

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Election of 1994
  • Midterm election
  • Ushered in the Conservative Revolution headed
    by Newt Gingrich
  • AKAthe Devolution Revolution
  • Gingrich and his fellow Conservative Republicans
    offered Americans a Contract with America

1994 House Midterms
1-2 Democratic seat pickup 1-2 Republican seat
pickup  3-5 Republican seat pickup  6 Republican
seat pickup
Election of 1996
  • Bill Clinton (D)
  • Ran on successes and economic upswing
  • Bob Dole (R)
  • Ineffective campaign strategies
  • Ross Perot (Reform Party)
  • Did not run as an effective campaign as in 1992

Election of 2000
  • George W. Bush (R)
  • Squeaker election
  • Florida was swing state
  • Thrown in to Supreme Ct.
  • VP AL Gore v Governor Jeb Bush
  • Al Gore (D)
  • If had he won his own home state of TN he would
    have not needed FL!
  • Ralph Nader (Green)
  • Greens took away some of the natural base of

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The Butterfly Ballot
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The Hanging Chads from 2000
Election of 2004
  • George W. Bush (R)
  • 9-11
  • War on terror
  • Character issues
  • John Kerry (D)
  • Was swiftboated by Vietnam war vets

2004 Election
  • 286 Red -Bush/Cheney
  • 251 Blue -Kerry/Edwards
  • 1 Light blue -John Edwards.

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Election of 2006
  • Midterm election
  • Brought Democrats back to power in both Houses of
    Congress for 1st time in over 10 years
  • War in Iraq was factor
  • President Bushs unpopularity was also a factor

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Summary of the November 7, 2006 United States
House of Representatives election results
Party Party Seats Seats Seats Seats Popular Vote Popular Vote Popular Vote
Party Party 2004 2006 /-   Vote   /-
Democratic Party 202 233 31 53.6 42,082,311 52.0 5.4
Republican Party 232 202 -30 46.4 35,674,808 44.1 5.1
Independents 1 0 -1 0 220,842 0.3 -0.3
Others 0 0 0 0 2,997,576 3.6 0.0
Total Total 435 435 0 100.0 80,975,537 100.0 0
Voter turnout   36.8  Voter turnout   36.8  Voter turnout   36.8  Voter turnout   36.8  Voter turnout   36.8  Voter turnout   36.8  Voter turnout   36.8  Voter turnout   36.8  Voter turnout   36.8  Voter turnout   36.8  Voter turnout   36.8 
Source Election Statistics - Office of the Clerk Source Election Statistics - Office of the Clerk Source Election Statistics - Office of the Clerk Source Election Statistics - Office of the Clerk Source Election Statistics - Office of the Clerk Source Election Statistics - Office of the Clerk Source Election Statistics - Office of the Clerk Source Election Statistics - Office of the Clerk Source Election Statistics - Office of the Clerk Source Election Statistics - Office of the Clerk
Summary of the November 7, 2006 United States
Senate election results
Party1 Party1 Breakdown Breakdown Breakdown Seats Seats Seats Popular Vote Popular Vote
Party1 Party1 Up Elected Not Up 2004 2006 /- Vote  
  Democratic Party 17 22 27 44 49 5 33,929,202 53.91
  Republican Party 15 9 40 55 49 -6 26,674,169 42.38
  Independents 1 2 0 1 2 1 879,032 1.40
  Libertarian Party 0 0 0 0 0 0 614,629 0.98
Green Party 0 0 0 0 0 0 414,660 0.66
Others 0 0 0 0 0 0 141,074 0.22
Total Total 33 33 67 100 100 0 62,938,294 100
Voter turnout   29.7  Voter turnout   29.7  Voter turnout   29.7  Voter turnout   29.7  Voter turnout   29.7  Voter turnout   29.7  Voter turnout   29.7  Voter turnout   29.7  Voter turnout   29.7  Voter turnout   29.7 
Sources Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Elections, United States Elections Project at George Mason University Sources Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Elections, United States Elections Project at George Mason University Sources Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Elections, United States Elections Project at George Mason University Sources Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Elections, United States Elections Project at George Mason University Sources Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Elections, United States Elections Project at George Mason University Sources Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Elections, United States Elections Project at George Mason University Sources Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Elections, United States Elections Project at George Mason University Sources Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Elections, United States Elections Project at George Mason University Sources Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Elections, United States Elections Project at George Mason University Sources Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Elections, United States Elections Project at George Mason University
Election of 2008
  • Barack Obama (Dem)
  • Message of change resonated with voters
  • Young people!
  • John McCain (Rep)
  • Too old??
  • Not conservative enough for right wing
    Republicans and not liberal enough for Dems to
    cross over
  • http//elections.nytimes.com/2008/results/presiden

Sources Gallup, AP, WSJ.com research         NOTE
S Plotted points are the averages of all
approval polls taken by Gallup in each
three-month period of each presidency. The first
two points for Johnson and Ford are for polls
taken in their first two months. Key dates are
marked next to the poll results for the
three-month period in which they took place
Election of 2010
  • Midterm election
  • Brought Republicans back to power in Houses of
    Representatives since 2006
  • Economy and recession major factors
  • President Obamas unpopularity also factor

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Important Cases Concerning Elections
  • Baker v Carr
  • Shaw v Reno
  • Miller v Johnson
  • Buckley v Valeo
  • Citizens United v FEC

Reapportionment and Redistricting
  • Reapportionment Seats in House reallocated after
    each census
  • EX GA gained 2 seats after 2000 census
  • States then redistrict seats according to pop.
    growth within state.
  • Done by state legislatures

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Redistricting in Georgia After 2000 CensusFrom
11 Seats to 13 Seats
Supreme Court Rules for Redistricting and
  • Congressional districts must be apportioned on
    basis of pop.
  • Congressional districts must be contiguous (no
    broken lines)
  • Using gerrymandering to dilute minority strength
    illegal under 1965 Voting Rights Act
  • Redrawing boundaries SOLELY based on race
    unconstitutional according Shaw v Reno

Baker v Carr 1961
  • Facts of Case
  • Charles W. Baker and other Tennessee citizens
    alleged that 1901 law designed to apportion seats
    for state's General Assembly was ignored. Baker's
    suit detailed how Tennessee's reapportionment
    efforts ignored economic growth and pop. shifts
    within state.
  • Question
  • Did the Supreme Court have jurisdiction over
    questions of legislative apportionment?

Baker v Carr 1961
  • Conclusion
  • Yes! Court held that no such questions were to be
    answered in case and legislative apportionment
    was justifiable issue.
  • One man, one vote
  • Justice Brennan provided past examples where
    Court intervened to correct constitutional
    violations in matters pertaining to state
    administration and officers through whom state
    affairs are conducted.
  • Brennan concluded that 14th Amendment equal
    protection issues which Baker and others raised
    in this case merited judicial evaluation.

Shaw v. Reno- 1993
  • Case concerned reapportionment and civil rights
  • NC created congressional district which was no
    wider than interstate road along which it
    stretched in order to create black-majority
  • AKA Majority-minority district
  • 5 NC residents challenged constitutionality of
    unusually shaped district, alleging its only
    purpose was to secure election of additional
    black representatives.
  • Was this gerrymandering case constitutional?

North Carolina District under scrutiny in Shaw v
Ruling and Importance
  • Court said NO!
  • Ruled although NCs reapportionment plan racially
    neutral on its face, resulting district shape
    bizarre enough to suggest it constituted an
    effort to separate voters into different
    districts based on race.
  • Districts cannot be based on 1 factor alone- race
  • Unusual district seemed to exceed what was
    reasonably necessary to avoid racial imbalances.
  • Left door open for some instances in future.

Miller v Johnson 1995
  • Facts of the Case
  • 1980-1990 only 1 of GAs 10 congressional
    districts majority-black.
  • 1990 census GAs black population of 27
    entitled blacks to additional 11th congressional
    seat, prompting GAs General Assembly to re-draw
    state's congressional districts.
  • Assembly finally successful in creating
    additional majority-black district
  • District called "geographic monstrosity,
    extended 6,784.2 square miles from Atlanta to
    Atlantic Ocean.
  • Gerrymandered district went from Stone Mountain
    to Savannah!!
  • Question
  • Is racial gerrymandering of the congressional
    redistricting process a violation of the Equal
    Protection Clause?

Example of Gerrymandering in Georgia 11th
District-1992 -Attempt to Create a Majority-
Minority District
Miller v Johnson 1995
  • Conclusion
  • Yes. In some instances, reapportionment plan may
    be so highly irregular and bizarre in shape that
    it rationally cannot be understood as anything
    other than effort to segregate voters based on
  • GA case that reaffirmed Shaw
  • Using race only to draw Congressional district
    was unconstitutional
  • Applying rule laid down in Shaw v. Reno requires
    strict scrutiny whenever race is "overriding,
    predominant force" in redistricting process.

Money and Politics
Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA)
  • Broad Comprehensive Change in Election Law
  • Defined elections to include primaries, caucuses
    and conventions, general/special elections.
  • Defined expenditures and contributions.
  • Prohibited promises of patronage.
  • Prohibited contracts between candidate and any
    Federal department or agency.
  • Exempted from regulation contributions and
    expenditures for non-partisan or non-candidate
    based get out vote and voter registration drives
    by unions and corporations.

Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA)
  • Exempted from regulation contributions and
    expenditures for voluntary fundraising and
    administration by unions and corporations.
  • Established caps on amount individuals could
    contribute to own campaign Presidential and Vice
    Presidential candidates, 50,000 each Senatorial
    candidates, 35,000 each and House candidates,
    25,000 each.
  • Established caps on TV ads at 10 cents per voter
    in last election or 50,000, whichever was
  • Established disclosure guidelines for
    contributions of 100 or higher.
  • Expenditure and contribution reports made due by
    March 10 of each year.

Amendments to the FECA (1974)
  • After Watergate, distrust of public officials was
    at peak.
  • Reformers in Congress pushed for campaign finance
  • 1974 Amendments to FECA passed quickly, signed by
  • Legitimated Political Action Committees, changed
    contribution limits, and established Federal
    Election Commission (FEC).

Amendments to the FECA (1974) Continued
  • Public Funding for Presidential Races
  • Defined "major party" as 1 received at least 25
    of vote in last federal election.
  • Set up system where private gifts to presidential
    candidate would be matched by funds raised
    through Long Act.
  • Disclosure and Enforcement
  • Treated loans as contributions.
  • Fines for not reporting could be as high as
  • Violators could be prevented from running for
    federal office for the length of the term of the
    office sought, plus one year.
  • Gave FEC power of advisory opinions.
  • Required full reports of contributions and
    expenditures to be filed 10 days before and 30
    days after each election.
  • Required candidates to set up 1 campaign banking
    headquarters for easy research and

Creation of the FEC
  • 1975 Congress created Federal Election
    Commission (FEC) to administer/enforce FECA -
    statute that governs financing of federal
  • Duties of FEC
  • Disclose campaign finance info, enforce law
    (limits/prohibitions on contributions), oversee
    public funding of Pres. elections.

Buckley v Valeo (1976)
  • Facts
  • Issue of campaign contributions came under
    scrutiny after Watergate
  • FEC set guidelines and limits on money given to
  • Was this constitutional??
  • Court had to decide whether or not you can be
    limited by amount you can spend on your OWN
    personal campaign
  • Was this constitutional??

  • Yes!
  • Case upheld limits on campaign spending set by
  • Today it is 2500 per election per candidate
  • No!
  • Spending own money on campaign was found to be
    free speech right.
  • Mitt Romney, Ross Perot, and other wealthy
    Americans have taken advantage of personal wealth
    in quest for office.

Hard Money/Individual Contributions
  • Given directly to candidates Limited by law
  • Individual Limits
  • (FEC) limits individuals to contributions of
    2,500 per election, per candidate
  • Could contribute 2,500 in primary and another
    2,500 in general election
  • 30,400 to party committees
  • 10,000 to state, district, and local party
  • 115,000 TOTAL every 2 years

Soft Money /Individual Contributions
  • Contributed to political parties with no limits
    or rules
  • Contributed to campaigns but NOT directly from
  • Banned by BCRA due to abuses by parties
  • Soft money raised and spent outside of federal
    election guidelines before BCRA.

Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
  • Passed in 2002
  • AKA McCain-Feingold Act
  • Banned national political party committees from
    accepting/ spending soft money contributions
  • Original intent lost in loopholes
  • Other parts declared unconstitutional by Supreme
    Ct. in Citizens United v FEC

  • Groups that developed from loopholes in
    McCain-Feingold Act
  • Many run by special interest groups, used to
    raise unlimited amounts of to spend on issue
    advocacy and voter mobilization.
  • Dont give money to any particular
  • NOT regulated by FEC

The 527 Loophole
  • Form of soft money used to pay for 527 ads that
    dont expressly advocate election/defeat of
    particular candidate.
  • Cant use words "vote for", "elect", "vote
    against these ads cant be paid for with
    unregulated soft money.
  • Many argue that huge infusion of unregulated soft
    money has destroyed the federal campaign laws.

  • May 5, 2004 RNC accused MoveOn.org and others
    527s of coordinating efforts with Kerry campaign
  • http//www.moveon.org/
  • Aug. 20, 2004 Kerry campaign accused Swift Boat
    Veterans for Truth of coordinating efforts with
    Bush campaign
  • http//www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/200

Political Action Committees (PACs)
  • Private groups organized to elect/defeat
    government officials, promote legislation
  • Must register 6 months in advance, have at least
    50 contributors, and give to at least 5
  • Over 4,000 PACs registered with FEC
  • PACs may donate
  • 5,000 per candidate, per election
  • 15,000 to national party chairman
  • 5000 to local, state, and district committees
  • 5000 to other PACs

Money from PACS
  • May receive up to 5,000 from any 1 individual,
    PAC/party committee per calendar year.
  • Can give 5,000 to candidate committee per
    election (primary, general or special).
  • Can give up to 15,000 annually to any national
    party committee, and 5,000 annually to any other
  • Support candidates with campaign
  • ½ sponsored by corporations 1/10 by unions
  • 1/3 liberal and 2/3 conservative (2001)
  • Incumbents get most PAC money!!

Money Limits and Money Needs
  • Individuals can give up to 2500 to candidate per
    election cycle but PACS can give 5,000 to
  • Fed. money will match money raised for
    presidential campaigns if legitimate candidate
    requests it but.
  • Parties need at least 5 of vote in previous year
    for presidential candidate to receive funds
  • If that doesnt happen you need PACs!!!

Top PACs in 2009-10
PAC Name Total Amount Dem Pct Repub Pct
Honeywell International 2,760,600 55 45
ATT Inc 2,597,375 50 50
Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 2,561,123 98 2
National Beer Wholesalers Assn 2,244,500 56 44
American Assn for Justice 2,202,500 97 3
Operating Engineers Union 2,109,300 89 11
American Bankers Assn 1,981,430 39 61
American Fedn of St/Cnty/Munic Employees 1,869,500 100 0
International Assn of Fire Fighters 1,843,500 83 17
National Assn of Realtors 1,818,298 58 41
Boeing Co 1,765,000 59 41
Teamsters Union 1,732,910 98 2
American Crystal Sugar 1,729,500 68 32
American Federation of Teachers 1,682,250 100 0
Laborers Union 1,670,000 96 4
Lockheed Martin 1,657,950 58 42
Machinists/Aerospace Workers Union 1,646,500 98 2
Credit Union National Assn 1,598,446 58 42
National Air Traffic Controllers Assn 1,594,900 83 17
Plumbers/Pipefitters Union 1,554,075 96 3
Citizens United v FEC (2010)
  • Facts of Case
  • Citizens United sought injunction against FEC to
    prevent application of BCRA to its film Hillary
    The Movie.
  • Movie expressed opinions about whether Senator
    Hilary Rodham Clinton would make good president.
  • In attempt to regulate "big money" campaign
    contributions, BCRA applied variety of
    restrictions to "electioneering communications.
  • BCRA (McCain-Feingold Act) prevents
    corporations/labor unions from funding such
    communication from general funds and require
    disclosure of donors disclaimer when
    communication not authorized by candidate it
    intends to support.
  • Citizens United argued its 1st Amendment rights

  • Rules Left in Place
  • Court further held that BCRA's disclosure
    requirements as applied to The Movie were
  • Held that political speech may be banned based on
    speaker's corporate identity.
  • Reasoned revealing identity of ads sponsor
    justified by "governmental interest" in providing
    "electorate with information" about
    election-related spending resources.
  • Rules that were Changed
  • Government may not limit corporate independent
  • 1st Amendment doesnt allow government to impose
    restrictions on certain corporations/labor
  • Political speech "indispensable" to democracy,
    which is no less true because speech comes from

Super PACs
  • New kind of political action committee created in
    July 2010 following of Citizens United
  • Known as independent expenditure-only committees

Super PACs
  • May raise unlimited sums of money from
  • Corporations
  • Unions
  • Associations and individuals
  • Spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or
    against political candidates.
  • Unlike traditional PACs, Super PACs prohibited
    from donating money directly to political
  • Super PACs must report donors to FEC on
    monthly/quarterly basis -- Super PAC's choice --
    as traditional PAC would

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