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AP Gov Vocab: Voting and Elections
Terms in this set (37)
Definition: Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1920) extended the right to vote to women in federal or state elections.
Significance: The expansion of suffrage for the US created a more equally represented country that was for all citizens rather than just men. It was also a major milestone in woman history.
Definition: States cannot deny the right to vote based on age (18+)
Significance: Previously, the voting age was 21, and in 1971, it was changed to 18. This helped continue the suffrage in America and puts into account more of the population. It also gave the voters a new, younger vote that the candidates have to appeal to.
Definition: Law that requires people to register to vote when they apply for a driver's license.
Significance: This also increased the suffrage in the US along with the 19th and 26th Amendment. Most people get drivers license, so making it so you have to register to vote creates more registered voters for election day. It also makes the process of registering easy.
Definition: The proportion of the voting age public that votes, sometimes defined as the number of registered voters that vote.
Significance: Voter turnout is important because it's important for the most amount of registered voters possible to vote. When there are higher turnout rates, the elections are more accurate to what the people want, Whereas when turnout rates are low, the population isn't represented as well because not everyone eligible is voting.
Definition: Provisions made for those unable to get to their regular polling places on election day
Significance: Absentee Voting is important to improve voter turnout. People that are incapable of getting to polling places should be accounted as well so having other ways for them to vote is very important, For example, older people may not be able to get out and vote, however, they account for a large part of the populations. This increases voter turnout.
Primary v. Caucus
Definition: two different ways for voting for a nominee among candidates.
Significance: A primary is similar to an election was people go to a voting place, cast their vote on who they want to be the nominee secretly, then leave. A caucus is an intervention where people come together to discuss the candidates with people supporting them. In the end everyone sticks with a candidate and everyone is counted. Both these ways of voting are important because it's how we chose who will be the nominee in the general election.
Definition: First state to hold a caucus or primary, therefore giving Iowa much attention during the campaign season.
Significance: The Iowa Caucus is important to election season because it "sets the stage" for the rest of the election. Candidates spend a lot of time in Iowa during the campaign season and how Iowa turns out often reflects or foreshadows the rest of the election.
New Hampshire Primary
Definition: First Presidential primary
Significance: The New Hampshire Primary is always the first primary in the campaign season. Along with Iowa, the candidates spend a lot of time in New Hampshire campaigning. The winner often gets a lot of media attention also putting a spotlight on the leader. Many people follow along to see the results.
Definition: A primary in which only registered members of a particular political party can vote
Significance: A closed primary is the type of voting that many states, including Massachusetts, use when voting. These primaries often are from the states that stick to one party, or non swing-states. For example, Massachusetts is typically a democratic state and we have closed primaries.
Definition: Primary election in which any voter, regardless of party, may vote.
Significance: These primaries are held more in swing-states because it allows the vote to go anyway. Any voter can vote for any candidate they want regardless of party. It gives the voter more power.
Definition: An election held to choose which candidate will hold office
Significance: The general election is after the primaries and is when the final position in office is filled. In the general election, any voter can vote for any nominee they would like, it is not based on parties. This elections reflects the general public most and what they want since they can vote for anyone.
Definition: An election in which citizens vote directly on a proposition raised by a group of fellow citizens
Significance: Ballot initiatives raise problems of minorities by petition. Since you don't need many votes to sign the petition, it can be put in for the public to vote. This allows minorities to be heard at a bigger level; the ballot for the public.
Definition: a legislative act is referred for final approval to a popular vote by the electorate
Significance: Referendums help connect legislation and the general public. It makes it so decisions can be made more based on what the majority feels rather than just legislation. The final decision goes to the public to embrace our democracy.
Definition: an official order or commission to do something.
Significance: Mandates are important because it helps officials prioritize their responsibilities. Mandates should be a top concern since they are given directly as a command. It also helps so what absolutely needs to be done, is done.
Definition: when the citizens of a state vote to remove and official from office before the end their term
Significance: Recall elections are important because it allows the people to get what they want. It makes it so if people don't like the way an official is doing his job, they can be taken out before their term ends. This allows people to have people in office whom they truly believe does the job the best.
Definition: the tendency of states to choose an early date on the nomination calendar
Significance: States like to front-load their primaries and caucuses so that their state can influence the rest of the elections. Although Iowa and New Hampshire are always first, other states like to get a primary date as close to those as possible. The states like to influence other states to vote along with them.
Definition: Party regulars who attend the national nominating conventions and choose the presidential nominee.
Significance: Conventional Delegates are important. specifically to the candidates, because they ultimately chose who the nominee is going to be. They finalize the decision and represent the people at the convention.
Candidate v. Nominee
Definition: a candidate is someone running for office against people of their party, a nominee is against people of the opposing party
Significance: Every person that runs for office starts as a candidate. They run against other candidates from the same party. People vote among them for who becomes the nominee. The nominee then runs against the nominee chosen from the opposing party. Candidates are related to primaries and nominees are related to the general election
Definition: A group selected by the states to elect the president and the vice-president, in which each state's number of electors is equal to the number of its senators and representatives in Congress.
Significance: The electoral college is important because it represents the people during an elections. It ties into the representative government we have by having other people represent a group opinion from place.
Popular Vote v. Electoral Vote
Definition: Popular vote is the actual number of people who voted for a candidate and the electoral votes is from the electoral college.
Significance: The popular vote is the direct vote from the people. It reflects the citizens the most. The electoral vote usually correlates directly to the popular vote and whoever wins the popular vote wins the electoral votes. Electoral votes are state by state also (minus Nebraska and Maine) whereas the popular vote is everyone. However, there are some cases where they don't correlate like the 2000 election. Ultimately, the electoral vote is more important because it decides the winner.
Definition: Process by which representative districts are switched according to population shifts, so that each district encompasses approximately the same number of people
Significance: This is significant because the population of places is always changing. For example, people throughout the last hundred of years have traveled south and the south has become more populous. SO, the districts need to be changed so it correlates with the population.
Definition: The redrawing of congressional and other legislative district lines following the census, to accommodate population shifts and keep districts as equal as possible in population.
Significance: This is similar to reapportionment in significance, however, redistricting is the actual drawing of the lines based on the annual census
Definition: Process of redrawing legislative boundaries for the purpose of benefiting the party in power.
Significance: Gerrymandering goes along with redistricting but this process is more political. In redistricting, it's based off of facts and politics are not involved, It's solely based off of population. Gerrymandering is when legislatures draw the lines to benefit one party. The way this is done is separating minorities and putting them in majorities so that the majority opinions usually overrule.
Definition: The boost that candidates may get in an election because of the popularity of candidates above them on the ballot, especially the president.
Significance: The coattail effect is specifically significant in elections. It can ultimately change the outcome of an election. If someone isn't affiliated to a party, but there's a democratic president whom they like, they may vote for other democrats because the president. It has many effects on the election.
Off-year/ Mid-term Election
Definition: elections held in between a presidents term
Significance: these elections are help for representatives for all types of offices however do not get the same coverage as elections held on presidential election years. The voter turnout is significantly less and the media does not cover these elections nearly as much as they do the presidential elections
Definition: A proposal by critics of the caucuses and presidential primaries to replace these electoral methods with a series of primaries held in each geographic region.
Significance: Regional Primaries are proposed in hope that front-loading will be reduced. Critics think that since the New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucus are help first so all the attention goes to those states. So, critics hope that by having regional primaries, it will make it more of a fair election so the candidates don't focus all in one place.
Definition: Day when several states hold their presidential primaries (usually the second Tuesday in March)
Significance: Super Tuesday is extremely important because usually after this day, it is clear who won, or is going to win the primaries. After SUper Tuesday, most states have voted so it usually sets apart the candidates and resembles the rest of the election.
Definition: Political Action Committee is a type of organization that pools campaign contributions from members and donates funds to to campaign for or against candidates
Significance: This is significant in the media part of the election. the candidates with the most money do well and people will pay for ads to make them win. The committee not only may help a candidate, but it can also destroy the competition.
Definition: Federal Election Commission is an independent regulatory agency that discloses campaign finance information
Significance: The FEC is significant mostly behind the scenes, These are the people that keep a candidate on track and make sure the money is being spent in good places and this commission regulates all money so even if there was a problem, they would be able to handle it without telling the people
Definition: basing voting decisions on well-informed opinions and consideration of the future consequences of a given vote
Significance: Prospective voting is important because it is a method that people use to chose their officials. These people like to look to the future and predict wether they think this person will be a benefit to the country in the future.
Definition: voting based on the past performance of a candidate
Significance: This is also significant because its how others vote. Retrospective voters often look at the facts and background of a candidate to see if they will be fit for the job at the time. It's important to the voter to have someone with a good past.
Definition: Citizens cannot be denied the right to vote because of race, color , or precious condition of servitude
Significance: This was the first of few Amendments to add to the suffrage in the US. It allowed all men, whom are "created equal" according to the constitution, to vote. It allowed the slaves and many more people to vote. Before the 15th Amendment, the large majority of voters were white property owners. This gave minorities a voice in government and gave them a right.
Definition: System designed to reduce voter fraud by limiting voting to those who have established eligibility to vote by submitting the proper documents.
Significance: Voter registration is very important because it ensures that the people voting are actually registered voters and that people that do no have the right to vote in our country are not voting. This includes illegal immigrants. It helps prevent someone from breaking the system and voting even when they don't have the right to.
Definition: Voting by member of one party for a candidate of another party.
Significance: The significance of crossover voting is shown in the elections. Being able to crossover vote also allows people to vote freely regardless of the party. If there are lots of crossover voting, it could change the election completely.
Definition: People qualified to vote
Significance: These people are very important in an election because they are the people that vote for A candidate. These are the people that decide in the representative government we have.
Definition: Holding a political office for which one is running
Significance: Incumbency is very important because it gives you many advances in an election. For example, everyone already knows your name which gives you an advantage. Incumbents also usually have the money to run a winning election against their competition.
Definition: states that change "their party"
Significance: Some states, such as Massachusetts almost always votes democratic. That's the way it has been for years. Other states usually vote Republican and have been for years. In battleground states, the majority party is always changing. It could go either way so candidates usually focus their time in those states in hopes of luring them over to vote for them.
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