Gov: Campaigns and Elections Review

Elections play a major role in American politics. We have more elections and elected officials than most other democracies. At the same time, the electoral process is complicated and expensive, and many voters do not participate.

  • Early in our nation’s history, suffrage was limited to white males. As a result of laws and constitutional amendments, almost all citizens 18 and older now enjoy the right to vote.
  • Most candidates for public office must first win the nomination of their party. To do so, they compete in primary elections and caucuses for the support of party members.
  • The nominees of each party face each other in general elections. There are three types of general elections: presidential, midterm, and off-year.
  • Money is the key factor in elections. Congress set up the Federal Election Commission to regulate fundraising and spending by candidates in federal elections. Nonetheless, the amount of money raised for and spent on elections continue to rise.
  • Voting varies with age, education, and income. Voters make choices based on party, issues and candidate characteristics. Experts differ n whether nonvoting represents a serious problem or reflects a level of satisfaction with U.S. politics.



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