The people hold the ultimate power over the government through the election process, but elected officials make policy decisions. The framers also viewed the means of election as another way to limit concentrated power, determining that members of the House of Representatives would be popularly elected while the Senate and president were indirectly elected. The Seventeenth Amendment, ratified in 1913, provides for direct election of senators. Primary elections are used to nominate candidates to run under a party’s label. General elections determine who will hold each public office. Elections should be fairly administered, information about the candidates and issues must be available through a free press, and voters must be free from coercion and intimidation.
To nominate candidates for office, voters participate in primary elections, which may be restricted to party identifiers (closed), open to all (open), or allow voters to choose between both parties’ candidates (blanket). Candidates are elected in the general election. Voters may be asked to cast ballots on referenda, on constitutional amendments at the state level, for tax levies, or in special elections to choose candidates for a vacated office. Voters participate in primary elections to nominate candidates for office, which may be restricted to party identifiers (closed), open to all (open), or allow voters to choose between candidates from both parties (blanket). In the general election, candidates are chosen. Referenda, constitutional amendments at the state level, tax levies, and special elections to choose candidates for a vacated office may all require voters to cast ballots.
A variety of corrupt practices acts have been passed to regulate campaign finance. The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 and its amendments in 1974 and 1976 instituted major reforms by limiting spending and contributions; the acts allowed corporations, labor unions, and interest groups to set up political action committees (PACs) to raise money for candidates. Public matching funds were made available to primary campaigns if certain criteria were met. The intent was to help candidates be competitive in the primaries. New techniques were later developed, including “soft money” contributions to the parties and independent expenditures. The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002 banned soft money contributions to the national parties, limited advertising by interest groups, and increased the limits on individual contributions. Since 2008, candidates for president have refused public funding both in the primary campaign and the general election. “Leveling the playing field” for candidates in either the primaries or the general election seemed to be obsolete.
In most states, the slate that wins the most popular votes throughout the state gets to cast all the electoral votes for the state. The candidate receiving a majority (270) of the electoral votes wins. Both the mechanics and the politics of the Electoral College have been sharply criticized. Proposed reforms include a proposal that the president be elected on a popular-vote basis in a direct election.
one paragraph per question Be specific. 6-10 sentences
Many people who vote for the president and vice present think that they are voting directly for a candidate. In actuality, they are voting for electors, who will cast their ballots in the Electoral College. Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution outlines the method of choosing electors for president and vice president. The framers of the Constitution wanted to avoid the selection of president and vice president by the “excitable masses.” Rather, they wished the choice to be made by a few supposedly dispassionate, reasonable people. Do you think that the Electoral College should be abolished? Why or why not? How realistic is it to consider abolishing the Electoral College?
What if…Everyone voted online? Many people would find it very convenient to vote online, whether via smartphone, computer, or iPad. Using technology for voting would likely increase voter turnout among younger Americans, the group least likely to vote. How could the United States balance the competing interests of increased convenience for voters (which might increase turnout) with security concerns related to online voting? Do you favor or oppose online voting? Explain your answer
Review this week’s videos on Election Deniers, in particular, #5 – Fired director of U.S. cyber agency Chris Krebs, and #2 – Election deniers are on the ballot: those who deny that President Joe Biden is the legitimately elected president of the United States. Many are poised to be elected during the Mid Term elections on November 8, 2002. What do you think of potential election deniers serving in Congress? Explain your answer. Do you think election deniers add to the political polarization in the U.S.? Why or why not?