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blanket primary
A primary in which voters may cast ballots in either party's primary (but not both) on an office-by-office basis
Most party oriented method of choosing deegates to the national conventions. Traditionally they were closed meetings of party activists who selected their choice for a presidential canidate but this was came to be seen as undemocratic. Now the only state that has one is Iowa but they are more open than in the past.
closed primary
A primary election in which only a party's registered voters are eligible to vote
critical election
An election that signals a party realignment through voter polarization around new issues such as war or an economic depression.
crossover voting
Participation in the primary of a party with which the voter is not affiliated.
Member of the electoral college chosen by methods determined in each state.
electoral college
Representatives of each state who cast the final ballots that actually elect a president.
Electoral College reform
There are three major Electoral College reforms including abolition, congressional district plan, and abolish the electors. The first reform is to abolish the electoral college entirely so that the president is selected by popular vote. George W. Bush's election marked the fourth time in U.S. history where the president was elected without the majority of popular vote. This reform is the most unlikely to succeed because the Constitution would need to be amended to change it. The Congressional District Plan has each candidate receive one electoral vote for each congressional district that he or she wins in a state, and the winner of the overall popular vote in each state would receive two bonus votes for that state. This reform can be adopted without a constitutional amendment, but it would politicize redistricting. The third reform is to keep the college, but abolish the electors. There would no longer be faithless electors who are appointed by state legislators to vote for the candidate who won that state's vote, but who would choose to vote for the other candidate.
Citizens eligible to vote.
The tendency of states to choose an early date on the primary calandar.
general election
Election in which voters decide which candidiates will actually fill elective public office.
The legislative process through which the majority party in each statehouse tries to assure that the maximum number of representatives from its political party can be elected to Congress through the redrawing of legislative districts.
history of Electoral College
The compromise between those who wanted the president elected by Congress and those who wanted a direct popular election.
ideological loyalties of party delegates
In recent years delegates have already given loyalty to the candidate who has won the most primaries and superdelegates are concerned with winning the general election.
importance of voter turnout
Not only can a few votes determine an election, but also voting helps to show what issues are important to all segments of the population.
improving voter turnout
Ideas include making registration and absentee voting easier, make election day a holiday, and strengthening the political parties.
The condition of already holding elected office.
incumbency advantage
The advantage of already being in office to help in a re-election campaign by having the benefits of free media and relationships with constituants.
process of allowing citizens to propose legislation and submit it to state electorate for popular vote
expression of support for government; cannot be taken for granted or taken lightly
midterm election
An election that takes place in the middle of a presidential term.
nonpartisan primary
A primary used to select candidates regardless of party affiliation.
open primary
A primary in which party members, independants and sometimes members of another party are allows to vote.
party realignment
A shifting of party coalition groupings in the electorate that remains in place for several elections.
patterns in voter choice
Tracked by polls. Are affected by race/ethnicity, economic standing, area in which one lives (ie rural) and religious opinions.
patterns in voter turnout
Ussually higher during a presidential year. Is affected by race/ethnicity, economic standing, and area in which one lives (ie rural).
primary election
Election in which voters decide which of the candidates within a party will represent the party in the general election.
prospective judgment
A voter's evaluation of a candidate based on what he or she pledges to do about an issue if elected.
An organized attempt by voters of one party to influence the primary results of the other party.
Removal of an incumbent from office by popular vote.
The redrawing of congressional districts to reflect increases or decreases in seats allotted to the states, as well as population shifts within a state.
A procedure whereby the state legislature submits proposed legislation to the state's voters for approval.
reforming electoral process
One proposal for regional primaries calls for five regional primaries beginning during the first week of February in a presidential electon year. One would be held each week for five weeks alternative proposals call for one regional election each month starting in February. This would end permanent campaigning, especially in Iowa and New Hampshire, and focus issues on a regional level.
regional primary
A proposed system in which the country would be divided into five or six geographic areas and all states in each region would hold their presidential primary elections on the same day
retrospective judgment
A voter's evaluation of the performance of the party in power.
runoff primary
A second primary election between the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes in the primary.
secular realignment
The gradual rearrangement of party coalitions, based more on demographic shifts than on shocks to the political system.
Super Tuesday
The term coined for election day, which is held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November.
Delegate slot to the Democratic Party's national convention that is reserved for an elected party official.
theories of low voter turnout
A voter who may be a Republican or Democrat, but who occasionally votes for a candidate of another party.
the proportion of persons of voting age who actually vote in a given election.
uncommitted delegates
unit rule
all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who wins the state's popular vote.
winner-take-all rule
A competition where there is a single winner who reaps all (or almost all) of the value competed for. United States elections are most often winner-take-all (e.g., president, governor, senator, representative, mayor, Â…) in which the candidate with the most votes wins, and all others lose. While this is fairly natural for executive positions (e.g., president), it is only one possible choice for elections of representatives to larger bodies (legislatures, city councils, etc.).

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