Texas Govt Ch. 4

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What are two reasons for decrease in voter turnout n US after 1960s.

1. 26th Amend. (lowered voting age from 21 to 18(1972)) It passed at the height of the Vietnam War(person who could be drafted and sent to war should be able to vote)<18-20 age do not usually vote, therefore adding pop & - voters>


2. identification with the two major political parties dropped substantially after the 1960s, and approximately one- third of all Americans now consider themselves independents,

Historically Texas was among the most restrictive states in its voting laws.


Texas uses a long ballot that provides for the popular election of numerous public officers ( whom some people believe should be appointed).

The moralistic culture perceives the discussion of public issues and voting as not only a right but also an opportunity that is beneficial to the citizen and society alike.


The traditionalistic culture views politics as the special preserve of the social and economic elite and a process of maintaining the existing order. Highly personal, it views political participation as a privilege and uses social pressure as well as restrictive election laws to limit voting.

The individualistic culture blurs the distinction between economic and political life. Here business and politics are both viewed as appropriate avenues by which an individual can advance his or her interests, and conflicts of interest are fairly common. In this culture, business interests can play a very strong role, and running for office is difficult without their support.


There is a two stage process for candidates to win an election.

1. win the Dem. or Rep. nomination into the primary election


2. win the general election against the other party's nominee.

Any party receiving 20 percent of the gubernatorial vote must hold a primary, and all other parties must use the convention system.


To get on the party primary ballot, a candidate needs only to fi le an application with the state or county party chair and pay the prescribed fee.

nominations are by a majority ( 50% plus 1) of the popular vote.


If no candidate receives a majority of votes cast for a particular office in the first primary, a runoff primary is required in which the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes are pitted against each other.

Primary elections in Texas are held on the first Tuesday in March of even numbered years.


The runoff primary is scheduled for the fourth Tuesday in May or more than two months after the initial party primary election.

Texas and 15 other states have an open primary in which voters decide at the polls ( on election day) in which primary they will participate.


closed primary requires that a person specify a party preference when registering to vote.

Texas does not limit the terms of either legislators or the governor


In Texas, general election is decided by a plurality vote, whereby the winning candidate needs to receive only the largest number of the votes cast for all the candidates for that office.

General elections in Texas are held every other year on the same day as national elections— the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of even- numbered years.


In years divisible by four, we elect the president, vice president, all U. S. representatives, and one- third of the U. S. senators.

Special elections are designed to meet special or emergency needs, such as ratification of constitutional amendments or filling vacant offices. Special elections are held to fill vacancies only in legislative bodies that have general (rather than limited) lawmaking power.(US Senate & House, state leg., & city councels in home rule cities)


Special elections are not partisan, the process of getting on the ballot is relatively easy and does not involve a primary.

special election must receive a majority of the votes.


Texas’s secretary of state is the state’s chief elections officer and interprets legislation and issues guidelines.

The secretary of state has the responsibility of disbursing funds to the state and county executive committees to pay for the primary elections and is the keeper of election records, both party and governmental. The secretary of state also receives certificates of nomination from parties that have conducted primaries and conventions and uses these certificates to prepare the ballot for statewide offices.


Along with the governor and a gubernatorial appointee, the secretary of state sits on the three member board that canvasses election returns for state and district offices.

Except for the preparation of the statewide por-tion of the ballot, county- level offi cials actually conduct general elections. Counties may choose from three options for the administration of general elections.


1. Maintain the decentralized system that the counties have used for decades, where the responsibility rests with the county clerk. They will have constructed the county and precinct level portion by having received applications and certified the candidates’ names. The board of elections(county judge, sheriff , clerk, and chair of the two major parties’ executive committees) arranges for polling places and for printing ballots. The county tax assessor collector processes all voter applications and updates the voting polls. The county commissioners’ court draws precinct voting lines, appoints election judges, selects voting devices, canvasses votes, and authorizes payment of all election expenses from the county treasury.

2. county commissioners’ court to transfer the voter registration function from the tax assessor– collector’s office to that of the county clerk, thus removing the assessor collector from the electoral process.


3. election related duties of both the assessor– collector and the county clerk to be transferred to a county election administrator. This officer is appointed for a term of two years by the County Elections Commission, which, in those counties that choose the election administrator option, replaces the board of elections.

Two basic types of general election ballots are available, the party column ballot and the office block ballot.


party column ballot - the names of all the candidates of each party are listed in parallel columns under the party label.(used in Texas)

office block ballot(Massachusetts ballot) - the names of the parties’ candidates are randomly listed in under each office


In addition to demographic factors, certain political factors infl uence the likelihood of voting, especially one’s expressed interest in politics and intensity of identifi cation with politi-cal parties

The most important demographic variables are education, income, and age.


The legal qualifications 4 voting n Tx r anyone who is(1) a citizen of the US, (2) at least 18 & (3) a resident of the state, is eligible 2 register and vote in Texas. The only citizens prohibited from voting are those who have been declared “mentally incompetent” in formal court proceedings & those currently serving a sentence, parole, or probation for a felony conviction.

In order to vote, a person must be registered.


Since 1960, turnout has actually declined.

voter identification (ID) requirement in 2011. This law requires voters to show one of five forms of identification when they vote: a DL, military ID, a passport, a concealed handgun license, or a voter ID card that the state provides for free.