Elections and Voting

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Invisible primary
The period between candidates declaring an intention to run for the presidency and the first contests of the primary season. The invisible primary is crucially important for a candidate to gain name recognition, money, and necessary organisation.
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Presidential primary
A state-based election to choose a party's candidate for the presidency. A presidential primary shows support for a candidate among ordinary voters and chooses delegates committed to vote for that candidate at the NPC.
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Presidential caucuses
A state-based series of meetings for the selection of a party's candidate for the presidency. Held in a few geographically large but thinly populated states, caucuses attract unrepresentative and very low turnouts. Same functions as primaries.
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Closed primary
A primary election in which only registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic primary and only registered Republicans can vote in the Republican primary.
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Open primary
A primary election in which any registered voter can vote in the primary of either party.
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National Party Convention
The meeting held once every four years by each of the major- and some minor- parties to select their presidential and vice-presidential candidates and write a party platform.
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Party platform
A statement of the party's policies for an upcoming presidential election that is used during the campaign to win support from voters. Manifesto
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Acceptance speech
The nationally televised speech delivered by a party's presidential candidate in prime time on the final night of the National Party Convention.
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Gender gap
The gap between the support given to a candidate by women and the support given to the same candidate by men. Women typically support Democratic candidates, whereas men typically support Republican candidates- seen in 1992, 1996, 2008 and 2012
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Super Tuesday
A Tuesday in early February when a number of states coincide their presidential primaries in order to try and gain influence of their region in the selection of major party presidential candidates.
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Front loading
The phenomenon by which an increasing number of states schedule their presidential primaries or caucuses earlier in the cycle, in an attempt to increase the importance of their state in choosing major party presidential candidates.
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McGovern-Fraser Commission
Established by the Democratic Party in 1968 to recommend reforms to the presidential nomination process. It was largely responsible for the reforms that democratised the presidential candidate selection system, starting with the 1972 election cycle.
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Presidential debates
Debates held between the two major party presidential candidates (usually three in number) that occur during September and October of the presidential election year. There is also traditionally one debate between the two vice-presidential candidates.
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Electoral College
The institution established by the Founding Fathers to elect the president indirectly. The Electoral College never meets. Instead, the presidential Electors who make up the Electoral College meet in their state capitals to cast ballots for president.
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Congressional elections
Elections held every 2 years for the whole of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate.
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Mid-term elections
The elections for the whole of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate that occur midway through the president's 4-year term of office.
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Congressional district
A geographic division of a state from which a member of the House of Representatives is elected. Congressional districts within a state are denoted by numbers.
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Locality rule
A state law that requires members of the House of Representatives to be resident not just within the state but also within the congressional district they represent.
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Coattails effect
The effect of a strong candidate for a party at the top of the ticket helping other candidates of the same party to get elected at the same time.
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Split-ticket voting
The practice of voting for candidates of two or more parties for different offices at the same election- the opposite is called straight-ticket voting.
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Proposition
Commonly known as an 'initiative'. Citizens of a state can place proposed laws- and in some states- constitutional amendments- on the state ballot.
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Card 2

Front

A state-based election to choose a party's candidate for the presidency. A presidential primary shows support for a candidate among ordinary voters and chooses delegates committed to vote for that candidate at the NPC.

Back

Presidential primary

Card 3

Front

A state-based series of meetings for the selection of a party's candidate for the presidency. Held in a few geographically large but thinly populated states, caucuses attract unrepresentative and very low turnouts. Same functions as primaries.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

A primary election in which only registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic primary and only registered Republicans can vote in the Republican primary.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

A primary election in which any registered voter can vote in the primary of either party.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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