Elections: a device for filling an office through choices made by a designated body of people: the electorate; "very heart of the political process"
A. Material Element: externalities involved in the organization and use of things (speeches, campaigns, the act of going to the election booth, writing the name of the candidate in the ballot)
B. Discursive Element: how the material elements "fit into an existing wider pattern of meaning, symbols and understandings" (material elements can also be considered discursive)
Electoral system: the set of rules that govern the conduct of elections
Functions of Elections:
A. "Bottom-Up" or "People Government": elections provide the citizenry with a meaningful way of participating in the government; vertical mechanism channel, from people to gov't
i. Mechanism for leadership selection
ii. An instrument for evaluating and changing governments
iii. A forum for interest articulation and socialization
B. "Top-Down" or "Government People": elections are used by people in the government to legitimize their rule and control over the people
i. An instrument of rule legitimation
ii. A guide to political strategy
iii. An agent of political socialization and integration
Overall, an election is a "structural opportunity" for those in power and those who are not to influence each other
Qualifications and Disqualifications for Suffrage:
A. Citizenship: immigrants, residents or transients usually are not allowed to vote; both natural-born and naturalized citizens have the right to vote
B. Age: 18-21 is the minimum voting age in most states
C. Residence: to guarantee that the voter is familiar with the needs of the voting community
D. Registration: for the purposes of official verification; ensure that voters can vote just once and only in their designated areas
-some states consider gender, property and academic qualification
The right to vote is not granted to: a. aliens b.... [continues]
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