Political Parties and the Electoral Term Paper

  • Length: 9 pages
  • Subject: Government
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #42331033

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Over the years, the electoral process has changed a lot. As per the original rules, each state legislature selected its electors. The electors would then assemble at a given time and vote for two people. The person with the majority of votes became the president and the runner-up became the vice-president. This system was in practice until the 1800 election. (the Presidential Electoral Process)

By 1800, American politics were dominated by political parties. Under the rules which were prevalent at that time, in the occurrence of a tie, the House of Representatives voted to sever the tie. The electors after 1800 voted individually for the president and the vice- president. Also, presidents and vice-presidents from the same party contested in the election. Between the years 1840 and 1900 the electoral system was focused toward the common people. The electoral system was again altered so that people, as different to state legislators, selected the electors. At present, each state has its own elector selection laws, but the systems normally fall into two types: the caucus or popular election system. In a caucus, people in a community or district assembles at a selected place and vote for electors that signify the candidates whom they want to be president and vice-president. The caucus votes are then collected statewide. At last, all the electors in each state assemble together and vote for the president and the vice-president respectively. (the Presidential Electoral Process)

The present mechanism of the Electoral College is the result of design and experience. Each State is given a number of Electors which is equivalent to the number of its U.S. Senators in addition to its U.S. Representatives, which could have changes as per the size of population of each State as decided in the Census. The political parties with the inclusion of independent candidates in each State present to the State's chief election official a roll of persons assured to their candidate for president and equivalent in number to the State's voting capacity allotted. Generally, the major political parties choose the persons either in their State party meetings or by appointment by their State party leaders while third parties and independent candidates simply choose theirs. Members of the Congress and Federal government employees are banned from serving as an Elector to preserve the equilibrium between the legislative and executive wings of the government at the national level. (How the Electoral College works)

The names of the suitably chosen candidates are then formally presented to each State's chief election officer so that they could appear on the general election ballot. Whichever party line up succeeds in attaining the most popular votes in the State becomes that State's Electors-so that, as a result, whichever presidential ticket gets the most accepted votes in a State gains all the Electors of that State. The two exceptions to this are Maine and Nebraska where two Electors are selected by statewide popular vote and the rest by the popular vote within each Congressional district. Each State's Electors assemble in their particular State capitals and cast their electoral votes-one for president and one for vice president.

To put off electors from selecting people of their home State, not less than one of their votes must be for a person from outside their State, though this is problematic as the parties have constantly chosen presidential and vice presidential candidates from different States. The electoral votes are then preserved and passed on from each State to the President of the Senate who, unwraps and reads them before both houses of the Congress. The candidate for president with the maximum votes, and if that is a total majority is affirmed president. Likewise, the vice presidential candidate with the absolute majority of votes is confirmed vice president. If no one gets an absolute majority of votes for president, the U.S. House of Representatives decides the president from among the top three candidates with each State having only one vote and a complete majority of the States being essential to choose. Likewise, if none gets a complete majority for vice president, then the U.S. Senate makes the choice from among the top two candidates for that office. Thus the chosen president and vice president take oath into office on January 20. (How the Electoral College works) description of voting behavior

Voting behavioral patterns in U.S. are been analyzed by researchers and party officials. Only few political processes have been researched widely in comparison to the individual voting preference. (Attitudes towards the new media and voting behavior) Voting behaviors have caught the attention of both the political parties in U.S.. Most of the research has been concentrated on understanding voting behavior in previous elections at national, state or local levels and so on. (Voting Behavior) the study of voting was the center of focus of some of the initial research using survey and has since then been analyzed using a wide range of methodologies. Even though a commonly accepted, descriptive model of the voting process is still elusive, several empirical regularities are well researched. (Attitudes towards the new media and voting behavior)

It is an established truth that the common citizen does not follow a majority of the political issues which take place at the national level, and make their participation by means of identifying themselves with local level political groups, or with professional organizations, or through racial or religious associations, or by means of symbols of identification of either personalized or institutional, like a political icon or a political party. At times the process of identification would take place occurs at small community levels, at times at state levels and in others at the national level directly. This process can take place at the international level, though this level of identification has not been ever considered significant in numerical terms. (Voting Behavior and Elections) However the most forceful power influencing the voting preference of an individual in a presidential or congressional election is his/her identification with the party. This means that voters in America have solid psychological bending toward the two major political parties. (Attitudes towards the new media and voting behavior)

These party identifications are stable over a period of time and strongly influence the voting preferences of individuals. But it should also be understood that in spite of the strong influences of the party, voters can tend to vote against their identification if valid reasons are being provided to them. When individuals are confronted with a new or a voting preference with which they are not familiar, they would tend to fall back on their initial standing preference among the parties. In this manner, the process of identification with party serves as a heuristic, making individuals to take decisions about candidates when they have other less information to give them guidance. Even though new additional information about the relative advantages of the candidates does not avoid the effects of identification with the party, it might influence certain voters to surpass their standing decision and to prefer another candidate. (Attitudes towards the new media and voting behavior) Next if the individual voter is not a professional politician, an increased level of political influence is likely to be an identification of a personal curiosity which is translated into the political arena. (Voting Behavior and Elections)

Even though voting is the formalized activity by means of which a citizen undertakes his civic function, in a representative form of political system, the activity of voting is at a lower level in any empirical scale of political participation. (Voting patterns in America) Historically, some groups which have been provided the right to vote have taken a long time to exercise this right. The 19th Amendment in the year 1920 permitted women their right to vote but this exercise of their voting rights took time to be a reality. Further the 26th Amendment brought down the age of voting to 18 years; but conventionally we have witnessed less than 50% voter turn out from these age groups at general elections and much lesser for other elections. Does this imply that the young voters think that they are not given prominence in the political process and hence do not feel inclined to vote? If this apathy towards voting exist in the younger voters then it is leaving the hard core of voters as those who have a self-interest in voting and maintaining the political status-quo- i.e. those belonging to the white middle or upper class voters who are white-skinned. This definitely brings into focus the political representation of these groups in America. (Voting patterns in America)

Another focus of debate is that those who have registered to vote at times do not exercise their voting rights. (Voting patterns in America) American Citizens who were born in Europe, Latin America, and Asia have less interest to register themselves to vote and those who are born in Europe and Asia are have the less inclination to exercise their voting rights than those born in America. Among…

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http://www.paperdue.com/essay/political-parties-and-the-electoral-62581