Saturday, November 12, 2011 9:22 AM

HOW AMERICAN ELECTIONS WORK • Institutionalize political activity and provide regular access to political power • 3 Kinds of Elections ○ Primary ○ General ○ Elections of specific policies • Elections of specific policies ○ Two ways to change  Referendum □ A state level method of direct legislation that gives voters a chance to approve or disprove proposed legislation or a proposed constitutional amendment  Initiative petition □ A process permitted in some states whereby voters may put proposed changes in the state constitution to a vote if sufficient signatures are obtained on petitions calling for such a referendum  Must have at least 10% of the voters in the previous election.

A TALE OF THREE ELECTIONS A. 1800-The First Electoral Transition of Power a. State and local organizations promoted presidential candidates, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson b. Newspapers then highly partisan and campaign focused on state legislatures c. To avoid a situation where the VP would be from the opposing party, Jefferson had electors vote for his VP choice, Aaron Burr i. Meant Jefferson and Burr were tied for first and several ballots were cast in the House d. Crisis was avoided and the election became the first peaceful transfer of power between parties via election i. A bloodless revolution B. 1896-A Bitter Fight over Economic Interests a. Major issue was economics i. Republicans (led by William McKinley) supported the gold standard and high tariffs ii. Democrats (led by William Jennings Bryan) supported unlimited coinage of silver b. Bryan broke with tradition and took to the stump in person while McKinley ran frontporch campaign. c. McKinley won with support from eastern manufacturers in the Northeast and Midwest i. Made Republican party as the majority for several decades C. 2000-What a Mess! a. Election between George W. Bush and Al Gore b. Election came down to the state of Florida i. Too close to call and required recount c. Bush won after Super Court Ruling

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