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American Government Exam 2 Cheat Sheet by

covers political parties, the media, public opinion, participation and turnout, and campaigns, elections, and voting

Political Parties

Why Parties
an organi­zation of people who share the same views about the way power should be used in a country or society (through govern­ment, policy­-ma­king, etc.)
Leon Epstein
Any group, however loosely oriented, seeking to elect office holders under the given label
Giovanni Sartori
Any organi­zation that presents candidates for elective offices and to legisl­ative bodies
Kenneth Janda
Those organi­zations which pursue the goal of placing their avowed repres­ent­ation in govern­mental positions
What purpose do parties serve?
according to John Aldrich, political parties...
help to solve the "­social choice proble­m" for office­-se­eking politi­cians, help to solve the "­col­lective action proble­m" for office­-se­eking politi­cians, and have been an approp­riate mechanism for organizing and commun­icating with voters in a historical sense
Historical Develo­pment of Parties
First Party System: "­Pro­to-­Party System­" 1800-1824
Jeffer­sonians (Jeffe­rso­nian, Republ­icans, Democr­ati­c-R­epu­bli­cans) and Federa­lists
dominated by Jeffer­sonians
Jeffer­sonians do well with southe­rners and westerners and Federa­lists do well in New England
scope of federal governing power, states' rights, scope of democratic partic­ipation
elite-­level only
Second Party System "­Jac­ksonian Party System­" 1828-1856
Democratic and Whigs
balanced and fierce
Democrates do slightly better in southern and western states and Whigs do well in New England and Midwest
states' rights, immigr­ation and national expansion, tariff
extensive grass-­roots mobili­zation
Third Party System: "­Civil War Party System­" 1860-1892
Democrats and Republ­icans
Republ­icans dominate 1860-76, then balanced and fierce
Republ­icans dominate in North and West and Democrats dominate in South and urban areas
"­Waving the bloody flag", commer­cia­l/t­ran­spo­rtation regulation
extensive grass-­roots mobili­zation
Fourth Party System: "­System of '96" 1896-1928
Democrats and Republ­icans
Republ­icans dominate, except for Wilson years (1912-­1920)
Republ­icans dominate in North and West and Democrats dominate in South and urban areas
Progre­ssive "good govern­men­t" reforms, economic regulation
de-mob­ili­zation as primaries, civil service reforms, ballot reforms occur
Fifth Part System: "New Deal Party System­" 1932-1964
Democrats and Republ­icans
Democrats dominate
democrates dominate South (white), urban areas with new immigrants and Republ­icans do well with northern WASPs
government interv­ention in the economy
mobili­zation of 2nd generation immigrants and women
Sixth Party System: "­Pos­t-New Deal Party System­" 1968-?
Democrats and Republ­icans
balanced and fierce
Democrats dominate with middle and lower status whites, racial and ethnic minorities and Republ­icans do well with white southe­rners and evange­licals
Civil Rights and government interv­ention in the economy
Political Parties are Endogenous
what consti­tutes a party causes their behavior (coali­tions dictate behavior), reflection of members
What do parties provide voters and candid­ates?
inform­ation shortcuts for candidates and voters (parties have reputa­tions), cnadidates choose to side with a party because of ideolo­gical similarity and its probab­ility of winning
when parties are able to keep dissimilar candidates out
when parties can't keep dissimilar candidates out
Democrat Monopoly in TX
for 100 years only democratic governors in TX, tension regarding Liberal versus Conser­vative Democrats (poor interest likes farmers and workers like the Liberals and corpor­ation interests like businesses and firms like the conser­vat­ive), Ma and Pa Ferguson and the New Deal (racism and prohib­ition are bad so Liberals got control)
Decay of Democratic Party in TX
1952 and 1956 Democratic Party State Convention
Democrats backed Eisenhower (repub­lican), Liberals won but the in fighting fractured and weakened party, conser­vative democrats became republ­icans
V.O. Key and Southern Democrats
strange political ideology, vote Democrat locally, vote Republican nation­ally, Republican power in TX relatively new (but Democratic conser­vatives look like republ­icans
Rise of Republican Party in TX
Legacy of Governor Edmund Davis (ex-union soldier, proponent of Lincoln) hurt Republican reputation because people hated Lincoln and the union, causing no Republican Government for 100+ years
Now, we haven't had a Democratic Governor for almost 30 years because Democratic party diverged (couldn't keep dissimilar interests out)
Political Partie­s—Are they strong or weak?
Party in Government
Do members of Congress vote with their party most of the time?
Does party membership matter?
YES! for agenda control, committee assign­ments, campaign contri­butions and fundra­ising, encour­agi­ng/­dis­cou­raging primary election challenges
so party in government is STRONG
Party in Electorate
Does party structure politics and voting in a meaningful way for voters?
YES! measured through 2 simple survey questions: Direction (Do you think of yourself as a Republican or Democrat or neither?) and Intensity (Do you think of yourself as strong or weak Democr­at/­Rep­ubl­ican? or Do you lean toward Republican or Democrat?)
Thus, party in the electorate is STRONG
Party Organi­zation
Do parties raise money and enlist votes?
Do parties contact and mobilize voters?
thus, party organi­zation is strong
Since party in govern­ment, electo­rate, and organi­zation are STRONG
Third Parties
The Importance of third parties
1912 election as an example
Teddy Roosevelt runs as 3rd party (Bull Moose/­Pro­gre­ssive Party including universal health­care) and splits Republican vote with Taft so Wilson wins
Rosens­tone, Behr, and Lazarus "­Third Parties in Americ­a"
legal constr­aints
(1) most votes = win so shift to 2 party system so one candidate has majority (2) third parties have to jump through hoops to run (signa­tures, fine, etc.)
(1) little media attention (2) belief they won't win so it's a wasted vote (self-­ful­filling prophecy) (3) seen as fringe­/wasted vote (4) fear of major parties going after them
Why do people vote for third parties?
(1) major party deteri­oration (2) neglected issues (third party will address) (3) neglected prefer­ences (4) unacce­ptable major party candidates (5) attractive minor party candidates
Notable 3rd Part Candidates
Strom Thurmond
in 1948 people were upset with Truman's Civil Rights push so Thurmonf and several other southern Democrats split with party and formed Dixiecrats (Democrats for States' Rights), Thurmond got on ballot in MS, AL, SC, LA and while he didn't win it quieted call for Civil Rights bill within Democrats
George Wallace
nationally known for his 1963 attempt to block 2 black students from entering University of AL and in 1968 formed The American Indepe­ndent Part appealing to those who felt that Civil Rights policies were hurting them and whites with lower socioe­conomic status and the young, Wallace and the AIP forced Nixon to take a stronger conser­vative stance on race issues
Ross Perot
Perot benefited from Americans disple­asure with the major parties and the key to his success was that he was well financed ($73 M campaign, gaining ballot access and TV time and partic­ipating in Presid­ential debate), he won 18.9% of popular vote but no electoral college votes taking votes from republ­icans and democrats (Clinton still would have won if Perot didn't run)

The Media

Historical Develo­pment of U.S. Media
Today we have an advers­arial, argume­nta­tive, cynical, and negative media, BUT the media are largely indepe­ndent, subject to their own economic interests, proffe­ssional norms and standards.
1760-1­850s: Era of the Political Press
- consist of vehicles for advocacy (e.g., federalist Papers­/An­ti-­Fed­eralist Papers, Jefferson v. Adams, Abolition Mvoement prior to the Civil War
- these were the primary forms of political commun­ication
- they were controlled by the political parties with no pretense of object­ivity
18502-­1920s: Era of the Commercial Press
- began to target mass audiences
- coverage moved toward more sensat­ion­alist stories to drive sales (sex, violence, scandal)
- "­Yellow Journa­lis­m"
- 2 dominant figures
Joseph Pulitzer (St. Louis Post-D­ispath, New York World) and William Randolph Hearst (San Francisco Examiner and New York Morning Journal)
1920s-­1960s: Era of the Profes­sional Press
new journa­listic norms develop after WW1
object­ivity, discre­tion, "just the fact" (who, what, when, where, how, and why)
political news develops and evolves
newspapers have full-time DC staffs, standards emerge with respect to coverage (what's in play and what's "out of bounds­"), newspapers still have their favorites
1960-t­oday: Era of Advers­arial press
News media began to change in 1960s
media discretion abused by JFK in Bay of Pigs, media suspicion mounts over LBJ and Vietnam, Nixon and Watergate, TV challenges newspapers for pre-em­inence as the primary source of news, Watergate marks the end of the "­pro­fes­sional press" and the beginning of the "­adv­ers­arial press", political parties decline and the new media rise as king-m­akers in politics
Charac­ter­istics of Contem­porary US Media
Cynical and probing
assume ulterior motives; always looking for "­big­ger­" story
negative stories are always more "­new­swo­rth­y" than positive stories
Process oriented
more interested in process (campa­igns, back-room deals, and negoti­ations) than in outcomes
preference for "­fac­ts" to opinions and argume­ntation
Minimal Effects Thesis
argues that the media has little to no effect on public opinion
we should reject this thesis on the basis of agenda setting, framing, and priming
Agenda Setting
tells you what to think about (what they cover out of everything possible indicates what's important, influences what public thinks is important; covere­d=i­mpo­rtant
What gets on the agenda?
Example: Disease and media coverage
it's about WHO dies not total death (disease that kill more white men get more attention)
what gets on the agenda mirrors public values
Agenda Setting and public discourse
Does what the public talk about closely mirror what the media talks about?
Concrete issues: YES!; Abstract Issues: NO!
Correl­ation between tradit­ional social media agenda?
social media = more likely to address social and public order issues and less likely to address economic and government functi­oning
relati­onship between political discussion in tradit­ional and social media is not directly causal
social media may get info first or vice versa
changes in the standards that people use to make political evalua­tions
argues that media coverage influences what people believe and how they evaluate candidates (voters evaluate candidates based on issue media is covering
by focusing on certain things as opposed to others you change standards of evaluation
The News Media
Basic Facts and trends
Broadcast News Weekly audiences
NBC (8.3M), ABC (9.4M), CBS (5.9M)
Nightly Audience for Cable News
Fox (3.62M), MSNBC (2.15M), CNN (1.79M)
Talk Radio min weekly audiences
Rush Linbaugh (15.5M), Sean Lannity (15M), Market­place (14.8M), All Things Consid­ere­d-NPR (14.7M), Dave Ramsey (14M), Morning Editio­n-NPR (13.1M), Mark Levin (11M), Glenn Beck (10.5M), Coast to Coast AM (10.5M), Mike Gallagher (8.5M), Delilah (8.3M)
Newspapers Daily Circul­ation
USA Today (1.6M), Wall St Journal (1M), NY Times (.48M), NY Post (.43M), LA Times (.42M), Washington Post (.25M), Star Tribune (.25M), Newsday (.25M), Chicago Tribune (.24M), Boston Globe (.23M)
Websites (monthly visitors)
Yahoo News (175M), Google News (150M), Huffington Post (110M), CNN (95M), NY Times (70M), Fox News (65M), NBC News (63M), Mail Online (53M), Washington Post (4.7M), The Guardian (42M), Wall St Journal (40M), ABC News (36M)
Online news sires are gaining on TV as main news service for Americans (natural and local news) with social media being another major source
the public is getting more negative about the nature of press perfor­mance despite variation in news outlets
the public trusts local news more than national news
the public sees different outlets as leaning one way or another politi­cally
perception of news media bias and news media trust have polarized along partisan lines (Repub­lican :) Fox, Democrats :) CNN)
The case for "­con­ser­vative bias"
Most news media owned by corporate interests, who prefer conser­vative candidates and public policies and these contro­lling interests keep certain issues off the agenda, talk radio and Fox News slant strongly to the right
The case for "­liberal bias"
Most news reporters and journa­lists are personally liberal, some empirical evidence shows that conser­vative candidates and policy makers receive worse coverage, newspapers and mainstream media slant strongly to the left
What does the data say about ideolo­gical bias?
some evidence of favoring liberals BUT main biases are not ideolo­gical
Main Sources of Media Bias
Profes­sional (rely on profes­sionals who know about issues they cover), source reliance (protect sources as they can use them again), selection (prefer immediate, sensat­ion­alist, and sexy stories), pack journalism (pressure to write about what others are covering)
Media Coverage of Campaigns
contem­porary campaigns are covered with an emphasis on...
the horse race (who's ahead and who's behind), person­ali­ties, conflict, scandals, gaffes, negativity (one side attacking another)
the process by which a source defines the essential problem underlying a particular social or political issues
framing v. persuasion
framing: how to think about something pointing out what is important to consider; persua­sion: influe­ncing someone's opinion on whether something is good or bad
Calcul­ation of Attitudes
v=value of an attribute on a specific dimension; w= subjective weight og that belief on a specific dimension; A=attitude
framing affects weight (changing weight of import­ance), persuasion affects value
Conflict frame and public opinion (Combative politics)
Conflict Frame
a frame with a narrative structure that presents actors as polarized focus (focus on which side is winning or losing and often includes language related to war, compet­ition, and games)
the inability of legisl­ators to reach common ground becomes seen less as a discussion of facts of the policy and more about a politi­cians' political game causing debate to be thought of as ridiculous and disgusting not productive and healthy
as debate drags on and reporters continue to focus on the conflict, the public begins to associate the policy with the ugliness of the process, whcih in turn leads to opposition to the policy
Causal Process leading to increased policy opposition
policy debat -> news focuse on proces­s/d­eba­te/­con­flict -> negative public sentiment toward process -> increased policy opposition -> policy debate (and repeats)
other "­gen­eri­c" or "­jou­rna­lis­tic­" frames
economic (emphasis on profit and loss), powerl­essness (describes groups as helpless in the face of greater forces), human impact (emphasis on describing indivi­duals and groups likely affected by an issue), morality (contains indirect references to moral and cultural values)
Why do journalist choose the combative politics frame?
"if it bleeds, it leads" (people like conflict), soft news vs. hard news (people like soft news because it's easy to digest and hard news has complex argume­nts), object­ivity (just say what people are doing = objective appear­ance), running story (continue to tell story every day for a long period of time)

Public Opinion

Defining Public Opinion
from V.O. Key
those opinions held by private persons which govern­ments find it prudent to heed
Public Opinion and Democracy
dor success of democracy, we mist be aware of public opinion to have a more repres­ent­ative democracy
The Problems of Multiple Principals
There are lots of different opinions so difficult to articulate clear will of the people
It's hard to translate opinion into action
People aren't informed so it's hard to tell what people want
Sources of Public Opinion
political social­ization
result of all the processes by which people form their beliefs and values in their homes, schools, churches, commun­ities, and workplaces
ONGOING and can change with life experi­ences
kids vote the same way as parents
what you are exposed to affects how you view the world
Education and Public Opinion
political efficacy
the belief that one can make a difference in politics by expressing an opinion or action politi­cally (education builds this)
citizen duty
the belief that it is a citizen's duty to be informed and partic­ipate in politics (education increases this)
Religion as a Source of Public Opinion
as a social­izing agent, David C. Leege (1993)...
they help you understand how to view and deal with the world
Kenneth Wald's Causes of Religious Interv­ention in Politics
Clifford Geertz on creed
Both what a people prizes and what it fears and hates are depicted in this worldview, symbolized in its religion expresses in the whole quality of life (helps people understand how to behave in secular activity)
Social Culture
develop shared outlook because similar experi­ences
Religion as Culture provid­es...
identity (who you/group is), Norms (what to do), Boundary mainte­nance (what not to do)
Political Knowledge and Public Opinion
Delli, Carpini, and Keeter
functi­oning democracy needs well informed citizens
if citizens are not well-i­nformed they can't effect­ively articulate their best interests
older and more educated people are better informed
Lupia and McCubbins
mental shortcuts that allow indivi­duals to make decisions without a great deal of inform­ation
"­con­cepts such as reputa­tion, party, or ideology are useful heuristics only if they convey inform­ation about knowledge and trust"
Hard and Easy Issues
Carmines and Stinson
hard issues
voting or policy opinion is the result of a sophis­ticated decision calculus (you have to think really hard to come to a conclu­sion)
easy issues
issues that are so ingrained over a long periods of time it structures voters "gut respon­ses­" to candidates and political parties (symbolic > technical, policy ends>m­eans, long on political agenda)
Origins of Political Opinions and Attitudes
Core Concepts of Social Learning Theory (SLT)
Instru­mental motivation
people are rational actors seeking to maximize their utilities
encour­agi­ng/­inc­reasing a behavior; can be positive (adding something) or negative (taking something away)
discou­rag­ing­/de­cre­asing a behavior; can be positive (adding something) or negative (taking something away)
attempting to extrap­olate from a previous experience to another related experience
learning that not all apparently similar situations are identical
Conven­tional Wisdom about Public Opinion
What we assumed to be true
Americans are intere­sted, engaged, and attentive to politics and public affairs, Americans know the basic facts concerning American politics, Americans listen to public officials and candid­ates, understand their issue and policy positions, and hold them accoun­table for their perfor­mance
Reasons we believe the conven­tional wisdom was true
election results suggest ration­ality, high levels of literacy and educat­ional attain­ment, substa­ntial campaign commun­ication and outreach
What early polls told us
George Gallup, Lou Harris, and other pioneers in the science of polling, discov­ered...
Americans don't know very much about politics, Americans are not very interested in politics, Americans rely on broad and general attitudes and predis­pos­itions to make sense of politics
74% can name the VP, 70% can name their mayor, 58% know consti­tut­ion­ality is decided by the Supreme Court, 55% can name at least one senator, 40% can name their congre­ssional repres­ent­ative, 34% can name the Secretary of State, 25% can name the speaker of the House, 8% can name the Chief Justice of the US
Philip Converse and the Nature and Origins of Mass Attitudes
Main Argument
most people do not have a full set of coherent politicla opinions or beliefs nor do they even know what ideology is
low levels of ideolo­gical constraint lead to low levels of concep­tua­liz­ation and low levels of issue consis­tency
Levels of concep­tua­liz­ation
rely on abstract ideolo­gical concepts to make judgements about political objects (with ideologues represent 15% of popula­tion)
use ideolo­gical termin­ology, but don't use it correctly (with ideologues represent 15% of popula­tion)
evaluate political objects with respect to their treatment of particular groups (with nature of the times represents 60% of voters)
nature of the times
evalua­tions of candidates and parties are tied to general percep­tions about how things are going (with nature of the times represents 60% of voters)
no issue content
focus on person­alities or family traditions without any evidence of political thinking (repre­sents 25% of voters)
Issue Consis­tency
Across Time
people are not likely to have the same opinion on an issue at two different points in time
Across Issue Domain
knowing what an individual American thinks about one issue doesn't really tell you much about what they might think about another issue (take away: people flip flop opinions on issues)
Analysis and data come from a quiescent time in American politics (the 1950s). Ideology depends on political issues and context, which is more intense in the 1960s and 1970s
Relied on dichot­omous scales ("ye­s" or "­no"), more complex response options (1-7, for example) reveal greater constraint
How we measure public opinion
man-in­-street interviews
focus groups
non-sc­ien­tific polls
Probab­ility Samples
key terms
popula­tion, sample, repres­ent­ati­veness
sources of polling error
measurable error (sample size and response bias/r­esponse rates, which is approx. 10% and low response rates are a problem if the peole who choose to complete the interview are system­ati­cally different form those who decline) and unmeas­urable error (question wording, response options, question order, interv­iewer effects)
Social Welfare Attitudes
social welfare issues include basic questions of the approp­riate level of taxation and spending as well as support for funding programs on things like education, the enviro­nment, anti-p­overty programs, energy, etc.
generally, Americans are LIBERAL on social welfare issues
Social Issue Attitudes
social issues include questions of religion, family, values, and personal respon­sib­ility
generally Americans are CONSER­VATIVE on social issues
Foreign Policy Attitudes
Is opinion liberal or conser­vative?
it's neither
conser­vatives are not always "­haw­ks" and Liberals are not always "­dov­es"
foreign policy opinions seem to be affected by who is in office (party) and broader circum­stances (context)
Things to know
"­Rally around the flag" - Americans tend to support the president and the commitment of troops to a foreign war once boots hit the ground
support for the war almost never increases over time
opposition to war is dispro­por­tio­nally affected by "­ear­ly" casualties
Political Cultures
collection of beliefs and values about how the government should operate
Donald R. Kinder
conception of desirable, not something desired, they are motiva­ting, lead us to take particular positions on social issues, help us to evaluate and judge/to heap praise and fix blame on ourselves and others
American Political Cultures
individual versus government respon­sib­ility to provide for themse­lves, both blacks and whites support this
nobody is inherently superior, everyone has equal opport­uni­ties, blacks are more supportive of egalit­ari­anism
Limited Government
weak central government and limits on power, large gap between whites and minorities as whites like limited government
Conspiracy Theories
Oliver and Wood (2014)
locate source of unusual social political phenomenon in unseen, intent­ional and malevolent forces
political events interp­reted as struggle between good and evil
mainstream accounts of political events are an attempt to distract the public from a hidden source of power
Hofstadter (1964)
when something bad happens someone is behind it allowing it to happen
Who believes?
almost all Americans know of some conspiracy theory (55% agreed with at least on general conspiracy while 45% believed in at least one medical conspi­racy)
not necess­arily mental illness, it falls along ideolo­gical lines and is widespread and consistent
people with a propensity to attribute the source of unexpl­ained or extrao­rdinary events to unseen, intent­ional forces are more likely to believe
people with an attraction toward melodr­amatic narratives that interpret history relative to universal struggles between good and evil are more likely to believe
social conseq­uences
increased feelings of powerl­ess­ness, decrease likelihood of engaging in certain behaviors
TX and Conspiracy Theories
prominant anti-gov conspi­racies during Obama admini­str­ation
Difficulty Correcting Misinf­orm­ation
Nyhan (2010) and Nyhan and Reiffer (2010)
Misinf­orm­ation and conspiracy theories are difficult to correct, highly polarized elites, ideolo­gical consis­tency, and attempts to correct misinf­orm­ation can further ingrain them

Turnout and Partic­ipation

Overview of Political Partic­ipation
Many Americans engage in simple partic­ipatory acts, but very few engage in more demanding activity
45% tried to persuade others about how to vote
18% wore a button or put a bumper sticker on their car
13% gave money to a political party or campaign
9% attended a political meeting
4% worked for a political party or campaign
Turnout in the US
Basic Facts
1. US turnout is low compared to other countries
2. turnout has varied over time (declined from 1960-1996 but increased from 2000-2020)
3. Turnout decreases in midterm elections, increases in presid­ential elections ("sa­w-t­oot­h" pattern)
4. Political, demogr­aphic factors affect turnout rates
5. TX has lower turnout compared to other states
6. higher income, more education, married, older (55-74), white or black, and female are all demogr­aphics that are more likely to turnout
What affects turnout?
Instit­utional factors (tend toward lower turnout)
1. regist­ration requir­ement
2. timing of elections (Tues in Nov during work hours)
3. frequency of elections (we have a lot)
4. locati­on/­con­ven­ience of polling places
5. Complexity of ballot
Psycho­logical Factors (trend toward higher turnout)
1. Political efficacy
2. Intere­st/­Eng­agement
3. Partis­anship
Paradox of turnou­t-Why did turnout decrease across the 1960s-­1990s?*
1. education levels increased dramat­ically
2. Civil Rights legisl­ation ended Jim Crow laws in the South
3. Regist­ration requir­ements were eased (Motor Voter Laws, Same-Day regist­ration)
4. Conven­ience Voting increased
But turnout still decreased when ostensibly they should increase, why?
Answer: Parties did not contact and mobilize voters as they had done in previous eras. Increased party and candidate contacting from 2000-2008 increased turnout substa­ntially
Calculus of Voting
from Downs 1957 -> R=pB-C
R=prob­ability that the voter will turn out, if R>0 the voter will turnout; p = probab­ility of vote "­mat­ter­ing­"; B = "­uti­lit­y" benefit of voting­-di­ffe­rential benefit of one candidate winning over the other; C = cost of voting
Cost of voting
lines and TIME and effort
Voting is illogical
the probab­ility of your vote mattering is functi­onally zero so the costs will always be greater than the benefits
from riker and Ordeshook (1968)
R=pB-C+D, where D=citizen duty, goodwill feeling, psycho­logical and civic benefit of voting
Voting Rights
15th Amendment
voting rights to Africa­n-A­merican men
19th Amendment
women's suffrage (previ­ously allowed in some states but this allows it everywhere and in all elections) (1920)
23rd Amendment
DC gets 3 electors in the electoral college
24th Amendment
no poll taxes allowed
26th Amendment
voting age of 18
1965 Voting Right Act
Barriers to Regist­ration
- poll taxes, literacy tests, grandf­ather clause, intimi­dation
- blacks had to take extensive test on the consti­tution that even a consti­tut­ional law student couldn't pass
- the VRA of 1965 made these barriers illegal
Vote Dilution
scattering minorities across districts so the majority can outweigh them or putting them all in 1-2 districts to allow other districts to outweigh them
Shelby v. Holder
precle­arance: 1965 VRA Section 5
states or county with a history of infringing upon the vote of minority groups must receive precle­arance from Justice Dept. before making changes to voting laws
in a Supreme Court 5-4 ruling Section 4(b) was ruled uncons­tit­utional as the coverage formula was too old and it was a burden on federalism and states rights, thus, section 5 is unenfo­rceable
John Lewis VRA
1. Modernize the VRA's formule determ­ining ehich states and localities have a pattern of discri­min­ation
2. Ensuring the last-m­inute voting changes do not adversely affect voters by requiring officials to publicly announce all voting changes at least 180 days before an election
3. expanding the govern­ment's authority to send federal observers to any jurisd­iction where there may be a substa­ntial risk of discri­min­ation at the polls on Election Day or during an early voting period
passed in the House in 2021 but stalled in the senate
Felony Disenf­ran­chi­sement
if you're convicted of a crime you can't vote for a certain period of time (perhaps a lifetime)
Most stringent criminal disenf­ran­chi­sement laws were created in southern states after recons­tru­ction
1985 Hunter v Underwood
Supreme Court invali­dated provision in AL State Consti­tution prohib­iting all persons convicted of a crime of "­moral turpit­ude­" from regist­ering to vote
Court ruled provision violated 14th Amendment because it was motivated by intent to racially discri­minate proven by the 1901 AL Consti­tut­ional convention minutes
There continues to be challenges regarding felony disenf­ran­chi­sement today


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