Re: AMERICAN SOCIAL CIVIC AND ELECTORAL SYSTEM.
- From: Yaj Tshaj Koob <mutant_loft@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 10 Sep 2010 06:42:06 -0700 (PDT)
On Sep 9, 9:22 am, Yaj Tshaj Koob <mutant_l...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Sep 9, 6:56 am, Yaj Tshaj Koob <mutant_l...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Sep 7, 10:33 pm, Yaj Tshaj Koob <mutant_l...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
THE CONSTITUTIONS AND OUR ELECTORAL SYSTEM.
Fight for Woman Suffrage.
In the beginning the crusade for woman suffrage was closely connected
with the abolition movement. Under the common law women possessed very
few rights. Their condition was often compared to that of slaves.
Indeed, in contrast with the legal status of free white men, the
comparison was not far from the truth. The married woman was, in a
sense, her husband's chattel; the unmarried woman was subject to the
male at the head of the household.
The campaign for woman suffrage began prior to the Civil War and
gained impetus in the period immediately following. It culminate, in
the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. As early as 1838,
Kentucky granted the right to vote-on questions relating to schools-to
widows and unmarried woman with property that was subject ti taxation
for school purposes. Kansas in 1861 was the first state to give all
woman the vote on school questions. By 1890 school suffrage had been
won for woman in fourteen states and territories. To Wyoming goes the
distinction of being the first state to grant complete suffrage to
woman. Wyoming came into the Union in 1890 with equality between men
and woman written into its constitution. The western states generally
had a more liberal attitude on this question than the older states of
the East and South. By 1914, eleven states west of the Mississippi had
adopted woman suffrage.
More militant tactics were advanced by the advocates of woman suffrage
from 1913 to 1919. Suffragists manacled themselves in public place,
disrupted public meetings office with cries of, "votes for woman!" and
in general made nuisances of themselves. They picketed government
offices and carried their banners back and forth in front of the White
House itself. In desperation, public officials had the picket arrested
for "obstructing traffic." But hardly had one load been safely penned
in the police vans than other indomitable woman sprang up to march in
their places. Rather than pay fines the suffragists chose martyrdom
and prison sentences. The conditions in the jails were vile to begin
with; now they became worse with overcrowding. Protesting these
conditions, the women demanded that they be treated as political
prisoners. Upon being refused, many of them began hunger strikes.
Forced feeding followed. The feeling of revulsion that swept across
the country in the wake of these events soon brought the matter to a
climax. President Wilson gave his approval to the cause of nationwide
woman suffrage. In 1919 the newly elected Republican Congress passed
the proposed amendment. By 1920 the necessary three-fourths of the
state legislatures had ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, which
provided that "the right of citizens of the Unitesd States to vote
shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state
on account of sex."
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niam tuag nthi saib tsis taug li no, nej sim ntsia saib seb American
cov txiv neej ho zoo npaum li cas rau lawv cov poj niam thiab?
OUR POLITICAL PARTIES AND POLITICS IN THE UNITED STATE.
Why Political Parties?
Whenever the people are in control of their government, political
parties are certain to be formed. They are the instruments through
which the people with common interests associate together. We have
seen how pressure groups unite to formulate their view and to make
known their wishes to the public, to party leaders, to legislators,
and to administrators. But the appeal of pressure groups is limited by
the very nature of their special interests. In a highly differentiated
society it is difficult for any single interest to gain enough power
to control the society as a whole. It is not probable that the
National Association of Manufactures could put forward, with many hope
for success, candidate for the Presidency, Vice Presidency, or
Congress. Nor it is likely that the AFL-CIO could do so. A combination
or coalition of interests is necessary to elect candidates and to
govern. This is the area in which political parties perform their
function. They unite a cross section of interests under their banners,
and by gaining mass support they win elections.
OUR ELECTORAL SYSTEM
Intelligent Exercise of the Voting Privilege By all Who are Qualified
is Vital to the Health and Growth of American Institutions.
Suffrage, or the Right to Vote.
Not everyone has the right to vote, not even every citizen. All
persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to
American jurisdiction are citizens, no matter what their ages or
mental capacities may be. But not all are voters. Voters are those
citizens upon whom the privilege of voting has been conferred by law.
In every state there are many persons who are not competent to
exercise a share in government. Very young persons, for example, do
not have maturity of judgment which a share in government requires.
Insane persons and convicted prisoners cannot vote. Aliens are also
excluded from the privilege of voting.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR VOTING.
Each state decides for itself who shall vote, even at national
elections. The states are subject only to acts of Congress and to the
provisions of the national Constitutions. In the Voting Right Act of
1965, for example, Congress Act to end discrimination in registering
voters. In the Fifteenth and Nineteenth Amendments the Constitution
stipulates that the privilege of voting shall not be denied to any
citizen by reason of race, color, or previous condition of servitude,
or sex. In the past, some states required a poll tax or voter tax. The
twenty-fourth Amendment now forbids application of a poll tax in
national elections. Further, the Supreme Court ruled that a poll tax
is unconstitutional even in state elections "Harper V Virginia State
Board of Elections, 1966". Formerly each state set its own minimum
voting age and most states required that a voter be at least 21 years
old. Now the Twenty-sixth Amendment sets the minimum voting age at 18
years throughout the nation.
A voter must be an American citizen. But the suffrage can still be
denied by states on account of residence, illiteracy, or conviction
for crime. Most states require residence of six months. Some states
require that voters be able to write their names and read aloud an
extract from the state constitution. "persons who are unable to read
or write by reason of physical disability are exempted."
Why Nominations Are Essential.
The choice of elective public officials usually involves two steps-the
nomination and the election. Nominations may be made, and they are
sometime made,by a caucus or by a convention of delegates. More often,
however, they are made by the voters at a preliminary electio or
primary. But the question may be asked: Why have nominations at all?
Why not give the voters blank ballots and let them write in whatever
names they please? There is the objection that so many different
personwould be voted for that no one would have a majority. In order
to ensure that those who are elected will represent the choice of a
majority, it is desirble that there be some way of eliminating all but
the stronger candidates. That is why we have campaigns for the
nomination-and conventions or primaries.
CORRUPT PRACTICES AT ELECTIONS.
Fraud and error in registration lay the basis for most electoral
corruption. When the registration lists contain names of people who
have moved away, died, or never existed, the groundwork has been laid
for dishonest officials and party workers to vote the names
fraudulently. How do such names get on the registration lists? They
may get there by one of several ways. The lists may be deliberately
padded by the registration officials according to a preconceived
plan.padding the voters' list is called COLONIZATION. Superfluous
names may remain on the registration lists because of failure to purge
them of the names of persons who have died or moved to different
addresses. VOTING THE CEMETERY is not at all uncommon in big city
precincts. But however they got there, it gives repeaters, or FLOATERS
as they are sometimes called, an opportunity to vote under a name
which is not their own. This is called PERSONATION. On occasion it is
carried to ridiculous extremes. IN MASTER OF MANHATTAN, T. L. Stoddard
tells the story of a repeater "who had the effrontery to attempt to
vote the name of the Episcopal Bishop of Albany, William Crosswell
Doane. The precinct official is said to have thought that this was
going too far and said; 'G'wan! You ain't Bishop Doane!' The repeater
answered with heat: "the hell I ain't, you----------------!' "
The connivance of election officials makes it easier for fraud to take
place in the polling place. Corrupt election judges have been known to
stuff the ballot box ballots that have no right to be there. Nor are
opportunities lacking during the counting of the ballots. A favorite
trick is BALLOT SWITCHING. this is the practice of marking the ballots
surreptitiously while counting the votes. An official with a small
piece of lead under his fingernail exercise the franchise for those
voters who tire before reaching the end of the ballot, by making the
squares left vacant. Erasures are attempted, too. This is a singularly
effective method of reducing the opposition's count because when the
erasure is noticed, the voter's ballot is discarded as spoiled. It is
not counted. All these practices involve moral turpitude. They are
forbidden under severe penalties. Nevertheless, they occur in almost
every election. They can be prevented by vigilance. Many public
spirited organizations train citizens to act as watchers at the polls.
The presence of a trained, nonpartisan watcher in the polling place on
election day acts as a deterrent to fraud.
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