is a glossary
of terms from U.S.
||Absentee voting allows voters who cannot come to polling places
a means to cast a ballot. A variety of circumstances, including residency
abroad, illness, travel or military service, could prevent voters from coming to
the polls on Election Day. Absentee ballots permit registered voters to mail in
their votes. The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, a federal
law, governs absentee voting in presidential elections. Absentee voting rules
for all other elections are set by the states, and vary. In Oregon, all
elections are conducted by mail, but voters have the option of voting in person
at county polling stations.
||a piece of paper listing the
candidates running for office. A ballot is used to cast a vote. The word ballot comes from the Italian word, ballota (meaning “little
colored ball”), because votes were originally cast using balls. In ancient
Athens, each voter was given a small clay ball, and the voter would drop the
ball into their candidate’s clay pot, or ballot box. The practice of using balls
to cast votes continued up until the late 19th century, well after more advanced
voting machines were invented.
||a box in which votes are placed.
||Ballot initiatives are an
example of direct democracy in the United States, in which citizens may propose
legislative measures or amendments to state constitutions. Some initiatives
propose the repeal of existing state laws. States vary in the number of
signatures they require to place an initiative on the ballot. These initiatives
(also called "propositions" in some states) are subject to approval, by a simple
majority in most, but not all cases.
||In the 19th century, to vote for someone’s
membership in to a secret society, a voter was given two balls: a white ball and
a black ball. To vote in favor of the candidate’s membership, the voter would
drop the white ball into a box. To vote against a candidate, the voter would
deposit the black ball. The term is still used today to mean to exclude
||A preliminary vote usually
taken early in the electoral process within a party; it expresses a non-binding
preference for one or another of the party's candidates.
|Bill of Rights
||the Bill of
Rights is the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution. These amendments were
ratified on December 15, 1791. The Bill of Rights was proposed to ensure that
individuals would have civil rights and could avoid the tyranny of an
overly-powerful central government.
||supported by members of the two
major political parties (the Democrats and the Republicans).
||consisting of two legislative
branches, like the US Congress, which consists of the House of Representatives
and the Senate.
||a primary election in which the
names of all the candidates for all the parties are on one ballot.
||Short for weblog, a blog is an unedited online
journal. Candidates use blogs to tell users of their Web sites about their
activities. Others use blogs to follow the development of campaign issues or
events. Political blogs are created by “bloggers,” individuals who post
commentary and news from their own perspective. Political blogs, like blogs in
general, reflect a broad spectrum of opinion.
||Blue state is a term used to refer to a U.S. state where the majority
of voters usually support Democratic candidates.
|Buckley v. Valeo
||The legal challenge Buckley v.
Valeo resulted in a landmark 1976 U.S. Supreme Court decision on campaign
finance law that upheld the Federal Election Campaign Act's financial disclosure
requirements, contribution limits and provision for public funding of
presidential election campaigns. The court struck down spending limits in the
law, except for the limits accepted voluntarily by presidential candidates who
receive public funds. Thus, the ruling allowed for unlimited spending by
congressional candidates (they do not receive public funds) and by persons or
groups who campaign for or against a candidate, but who do not coordinate their
activities with any candidate or campaign. The ruling also said that candidates
who do not receive public money do not have to limit campaign spending of their
own personal funds.
||a type of paper ballot in which the
actual voting is done by the central fold of a two-page, pamphlet-like ballot
(the two open pages are like a butterfly's wings; the voting is done where the
butterfly's body would be).
||a series of political actions
(like advertisements, public appearances, and debates) that are used to help a
candidate get elected to office.
||a person who is running for an
||A caucus is a meeting at the local level in
which registered members of a political party in a city, town or county gather
to express support for a candidate. For statewide or national offices, those
recommendations are combined to determine the state party nominee. The term also
is applied to a group of party members that meets to plan policy. Two well-known
examples of such groups are the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional
Hispanic Caucus, whose members discuss and advance the interests of their
||a tiny bit of paper
that is punched from a ballot using a punch-type mechanical voting machine.
||A challenger is a candidate running
against a person who currently holds the position (the incumbent).
||Candidates from the two major
political parties (Democratic and Republican) compete to be their party’s
nominee for an office in a primary election. Closed primaries are restricted to
voters registered as a member of the party holding the election. Unaffiliated
voters receive ballots for other measures and nonpartisan contests that occur on
the same date.
||The expression “coattails” is an allusion
to the rear panels ("tails") of a man's coat. In American politics, it refers to
the ability of a popular officeholder or candidate for office, on the strength
of his or her own popularity, to increase the chances for victory of other
candidates of the same political party. This candidate is said to carry others
to victory on his or her coattails.
||the US Congress,
which makes the country's laws, is divided into the Senate and the House of
Representatives. There are currently 100 Senators (2 from each state) and 435
members of the House of Representatives (Representatives are divided by
population among the states, with each state having at least 1 representative).
area within a state from which a member of the House of Representatives is
elected. There are 435 Congressional districts. Each district has about 570,000
people. Seats (positions) in the House of Representatives are reapportioned
every 10 years; since the number of Representatives is set to 435, some areas
lose Representatives and others gain some.
||people who generally like to
uphold current conditions and oppose changes. Conservatives are often referred
to as the right wing.
||The people a government official
represents make up his or her constituency. The term is sometimes is used to
refer only to those individuals who voted to elect the official. The president's
constituency is composed of all Americans; a mayor's constituency is the people
who reside in the town or city.
||In presidential election years,
after the conclusion of state primaries and caucuses, the political parties
gather to select a presidential nominee – usually the candidate who secured the
support of the most convention delegates, based on victories in primary
elections. The presidential nominee usually chooses a running mate to be the
candidate for vice president, but the presidential nominee can throw open the
vice presidential selection process to the convention delegates without making a
||An increase in a
presidential candidate's popularity, as indicated by public-opinion polls, in
the days immediately following his or her nomination for office at the
Republican or Democratic national conventions.
||A structured discussion involving
two or more opposing sides of an issue is a debate. In American politics in
recent years, debates have come to be associated with televised programs at
which candidates present their own and their party's views, in response to
questions from the media or members of the audience. Debates also may be held
via radio, the Internet or at a community meeting place. They can be held among
those who seek elective office at all levels of government.
||a person who is chosen to
represent a local political party at a political convention.
||a person who
belongs to the Democratic political party.
||a major US
political party. The symbol of the Democratic party is the donkey. The first
Democratic US President was Andrew
||a form of government in which
people hold the power, either by voting for measures directly or by voting for
representatives who vote for them. The word democracy comes
from the Greek language; in Greek, demos
means "people" and kratos mean "power." In a democracy, the power of the
government is in the hands of its people.
||A situation in which the U.S. president is a member of one political
party and at least one chamber of Congress (either the Senate or the House of
Representatives) is controlled by the opposite party is called a divided
government. This situation also can exist at the state level, with one party
controlling the governorship and another controlling the state legislature.
Divided government occurs frequently in the U.S. political system.
||a process in which people vote to
choose a leader or to decide an issue.
|Established by the Help
America Vote Act of 2002, the Election Assistance Commission serves primarily as
a national clearinghouse and resource for information on elections. It also
reviews federal election administration and procedures.
||The president and vice president are selected through the
electoral college system, which gives each state the same number of electoral
votes as it has members of Congress. The District of Columbia also gets three
electoral votes. Of the total 538 votes, a candidate for president must receive
270 to win.
of the US government that administers the laws and other affairs of the
government; it includes the President (also called the Chief Executive), the
President's staff, executive agencies (the Office of Management and Budget, the
National Security Council, etc.) and Cabinet departments (like the State
Department, the Dept. of Defense, the Dept. of Agriculture, etc.).
||an informal poll taken as people
leave the voting booth. Exit polls are used to predict the outcome of the
election before the polls are closed.
||For decades, in a practice lasting well
into the 1960s, governors, senators and other prominent figures filed as
presidential candidates in their home states only, won party primaries and then
led delegations to the nominating convention. Historically, “favorite sons”
influenced platforms and the process by trading their delegate votes for
concessions from front-running candidates. The term also is used more broadly to
describe a state’s most illustrious politicians.
|Federal Election Campaign
|The 1971 law that governs the financing of federal elections, the
Federal Election Campaign was amended in 1974, 1976 and 1979. The act requires
candidates and political committees to disclose the sources of their funding and
how they spend their money; it regulates the contributions received and
expenditures made during federal election campaigns; and it governs the public
funding of presidential elections.
|The Federal Election
Commission is an independent regulatory agency charged with administering and
enforcing federal campaign finance law. The FEC consists of six commissioners
appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. The FEC
was established by the 1974 amendment of the Federal Election Campaign Act of
||The practice of scheduling state
party caucuses and state primary elections earlier and earlier in advance of the
general election is called front-loading. By moving their primaries to early
dates, states hope to lend decisive momentum to one or two presidential
candidates and thus have disproportionate influence on each party's nomination.
"Rear-loading" refers to the intense activity at the end of the yearlong cycle
-- just prior to the election -- which includes a series of nationally televised
debates, a flurry of television ads and extensive campaign travel on the part of
the presidential candidates.
||A candidate in any election
or nomination process who is considered most popular or most likely to win is
called the front runner.
||an election that is being held
throughout the country on the same day.
||a process in which a voting
district is broken up or the physical boundaries of a voting district are
changed in order to make it easier for one political party to win future
elections. The term gerrymander was coined in 1812 when a county in
Massachusetts was redistricted into a salamander-like shape by Gov. Elbridge
Gerry for political purposes. His last name was combined with the word
salamander to get "gerrymander."
||a chad is a tiny bit of paper that is
punched from a ballot using a punch-type mechanical voting machine. A hanging
chad is a chad that did not completely detach from the ballot. When there is a
hanging chad, that vote may not be counted correctly.
|Hard Money / Soft Money
||Hard money and soft money are terms used to differentiate between
campaign funding that is, and is not, regulated under federal campaign finance
law. Hard money describes donations by individuals and groups made directly to
political candidates running for federal office. Such contributions are
restricted by law. Soft money refers to donations not regulated by law that can
be spent only on civic activities such as voter-registration drives,
party-building activities, administrative costs and in support of state and
local candidates. “Soft money” contributions, by law, may not be used to support
directly a candidate for federal office. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 upheld
congressional restrictions passed in 2002 on soft money contributions.
||The Hatch Act places
restrictions on political activity by employees of the executive branch of the
U.S. federal government, District of Columbia government, and state and local
employees who work in connection with federally funded programs. Under the act,
employees are permitted to contribute to a candidate's campaign, but are
restricted from using official authority to influence an election, including
soliciting or receiving political contributions, and engaging in political
activity while on duty, which includes wearing political buttons. Employees may
run for office in a nonpartisan election, such as many school board elections,
but are prohibited from running in a partisan election.
|Help America Vote
|Congress passed HAVA to address voting problems encountered in the 2000
presidential election. The act encourages state and local governments to
eliminate punch-card and lever voting machines. Under HAVA, states have received
$2.9 billion since 2003 to improve their elections processes. The law also
established the Election Assistance Commission to provide support to the
administration of federal elections, as well as election laws and programs.
||Used as a metaphor for an
election campaign, "horse race" is used to describe a close contest and conveys
the feeling of excitement that people experience when watching a sporting event.
|House of Representatives
||the House of Representatives is part of Congress; they propose and vote on
legislation (laws). There are 435 members of the House of Representatives
(divided by population among the states, with each state having at least 1
representative). There are 435 Congressional districts. Each district has about
570,000 people. Seats (positions) in the House of Representatives are
reapportioned every 10 years; since the number of Representatives is set to 435,
some areas lose Representatives and others gain some. Representatives are
elected to a term of 2 years.
||An individual currently
holding a position is the incumbent. Historically, incumbents have enjoyed a
better-than-average chance of being re-elected.
||A candidate or voter not
affiliated with a particular political party is termed an
||The part of
the US government that settles disputes and administers justice. The judicial
branch is made up of the court system, including US District Courts, many
Federal courts, the US Court of Appeals (also called the Federal Circuit
Courts), and the Supreme Court.
||The term lame duck refers to an elected official who has lost an
election, or soon will be leaving office, during the period between the election
and the date a successor will take over. Such an individual is in a weakened
position politically due to the impending expiration of his or her term.
||A victory in which one candidate's votes
far surpass those of other candidates is called a landslide.
of the US government that makes the laws and appropriates funds. The Legislative
Branch includes the US House of Representative and Senate (plus congressional
staffs and committees) plus support agencies (like the General Accounting
Office, the Congressional Budget Office, the Library of Congress, etc.).
||people who generally like to
reform current conditions. Liberals are often referred to as the left wing.
||a person who
belongs to the Libertarian political party.
||people who are associated with
groups (like labor unions, corporations, etc.) and who try to persuade members
of the government (like members of Congress) to enact legislation that would
benefit their group.
||more than half of the votes.
|Matching Funds or
|Public money can be given to
presidential candidates that "matches" funds they have raised privately from
individuals. Contributions from individuals in which the aggregate amount
contributed by the individual is $250 or less are eligible to be matched on a
dollar- for-dollar basis from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. This fund
includes proceeds from the voluntary check-off of $3 per person from income tax
returns of eligible taxpayers.
||Formally titled the Bipartisan
Campaign Reform Act, the McCain-Feingold Law is named after its two chief Senate
sponsors, John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, and Russell Feingold, a
Democrat from Wisconsin, who sought to remove "soft money" as an influence on
candidates running for federal office. The law eliminated “loopholes” (or
legislative oversights) that in the past allowed the use of soft money to aid
candidates running for federal office.
|| a general election
that does not coincide with a presidential election year, but occurs two years
into the term of a president. In a midterm election, some members of the US
Senate, all members of the House of Representatives, and many state and local
positions are voted on.
||a bill passed by Congress in 1993
that lets US citizens register to vote when they apply for a driver's license.
||Negative advertisements that
try to persuade voters to choose a candidate by making the opposing candidate
look bad, by attacking either the opponent's character or record on the issues.
||A person selected by others
for election to office is the nominee. Nominees may be selected in primary
elections or caucuses. When only one candidate from a party has filed to run for
a political office, that candidate becomes the party’s nominee without any
further selection process.
||An open primary is one in which
all registered voters may vote, regardless of whether they are registered as
Democrats, Republicans or Independents.
||In the context of U.S.
presidential politics, platform refers to a political party's formal written
statement of its principles and goals, put together and issued during the
presidential nomination process and subject to approval affirmed during the
party’s national political convention.
||A plurality is one method of
identifying the winning candidate in an election. A plurality occurs when the
votes received by a candidate are greater than those received by any opponent
but can be less than a majority of the total vote. For example, if one candidate
receives 30 percent of the votes, a second candidate also receives 30 percent
and a third receives 40 percent, the third candidate could win the election by a
plurality of the votes.
political committees not related directly to a political party, but rather
affiliated with corporations, labor unions or other organizations. The
committees contribute money to candidates and engage in other election-related
activities so as to promote specific legislative agendas. Funds are gathered by
voluntary contributions from members, employees or shareholders. PACs have
increased significantly in influence and number in recent years: in 1976, there
were 608 PACs, and in 2006, there are about 4,600.
||In politics, when one side (or, in some
cases, more than one side) in a political matter manages to stall things so
there is no room for maneuver or compromise and nothing can be accomplished, the
situation is described as gridlock.
||an organized group of people with
common values and goals, who try to get their candidates elected to office. The
Democrats and the Republicans are the two major political parties in the USA
||a person who is running for
office or has won an election and is already in office.
||A public opinion poll is
created when a polling firm contacts a sample group of randomly selected
citizens and asks a series of standard questions. If executed properly, the
poll’s data reflect the range of opinions and the portion of the population that
holds them in a manner representative of the full population. Public opinion
polls provide an idea of what many Americans think about various candidates and
||money that must be paid in order to
vote. There used to be poll taxes in some places in the USA; this tax kept many
poor people from voting since they could not afford to pay the tax. The 24th
Amendment to the Constitution (ratified in 1964) made poll taxes illegal.
||the result of the votes of the
eligible voters. The winner of the popular vote usually wins the election (but
not always - sometimes the outcome of the vote of the Electoral College is
||the smallest geographic area in
US voting subdivisions, in which local party officials are elected. A precinct
usually has from 200 to 1,000 voters in it. Each precinct has an elected
precinct captain (the neighborhood party leader). The purpose of a precinct is
vote for a candidate and to elect delegates who will go to the city or county
convention, and relay the precinct's vote for that candidate.
||A state-level election in which
voters choose a candidate affiliated with a political party to run against a
candidate who is affiliated with another political party in a later, general
election. A primary may be either "open" -- allowing any registered voter in a
state to vote for a candidate to represent a political party, or "closed" --
allowing only registered voters who belong to a particular political party to
vote for a candidate from that party.
||A vote for a third-party candidate
made, not to elect that candidate, but to indicate displeasure with the
candidates of the two major political parties.
||A public-opinion polling technique that is used to test possible
campaign themes by asking very specific questions about an issue or a candidate
is call push polling.
||The process of redrawing the geographic boundaries of
congressional districts, the electoral districts within states from which
members of the House of Representatives are elected, is called redistricting.
Both Democrats and Republicans at the state level compete to get hold of the
legal and political mechanisms of redistricting -- usually by controlling the
state legislature. By doing so, they can redraw boundaries of congressional
districts in ways that will lend an electoral advantage to their own
||Red state refers to a U.S. state where the majority of voters support
||A measure referred to voters by
a state legislature proposing that specific legislation be approved or rejected
is a referendum. The terms referendum, proposition and ballot initiative
frequently are used interchangeably.
||a government in which the adult
citizens of the country vote to elect the country's leaders. These elected
leaders make the governmental decisions.
||a person who belongs to
the Republican political party.
||a major US
political party also known as the G.O.P. (standing for the Grand Old Party). The
symbol of the Republican party is the elephant. The Republican party was founded
as an anti-slavery party in the mid 1800s. The first Republican US President was Abraham
||the Senate is part
of Congress. Senators propose and vote on legislation (laws). There are 100
members of the Senate (two Senators for each state). Senators are elected to a
term of 6 years.
||Single-member district describes the current arrangement for electing
national and state legislators in the United States in which one candidate is
elected in each legislative district; the winner is the candidate with the most
votes. The "single-member" system allows only one party to win in any given
district. Under the proportional system popular in Europe, much larger districts
are used and several members are elected at one time, based on the proportion of
votes their parties receive.
||money that is given to a political
party but is not given specifically to support a particular candidate. This
money is supposed to be used for purposes such as voter registration drives,
administrative costs and general political party expenses, but is often used by
the parties to help particular candidates.
||A sound bite is a brief, very quotable remark by a candidate for
office that is repeated on radio and television news programs.
||A media adviser or political consultant employed by a campaign to
ensure that a candidate receives the best possible publicity in any given
situation is called a spin doctor. When these media advisers practice their
craft, they are said to be "spinning" or putting "spin" on a situation or event
to present it as favorably as possible to their side.
||An unofficial vote that is used
either to predict the outcome of an official vote, or to measure the relative
strength of candidates for office in a future election is called straw poll or
straw vote. A good showing in a straw vote can give a candidate a boost, but
does not necessarily predict later success.
||The "standard" speech of a
candidate for office -- the one he or she is most likely to use, perhaps with
slight variations, on normal occasions.
||the right or privilege of voting.
||a person who campaigned for
the right of women to vote. The 19th amendment (ratified in 1920) to the US
Constitution gave women the right to vote.
use of the phrase "Super Tuesday" dates from 1988, when a group of Southern
states banded together to hold the first large and effective regional group of
primaries in order to boost the importance of Southern states in the
presidential nomination process and lessen the impact of early votes in the New
Hampshire primary and Iowa caucus. Today, the meaning of the phrase is blurred,
a reflection of the fact that during the presidential primary season there may
be several groups of state primaries in various regions falling on one or more
Tuesdays. These groupings are important because the weight of such a large,
simultaneous vote tends to make or break would-be presidential nominees since so
many convention delegates are selected at once.
||Voters not loyal to a particular
political party sometimes can determine the outcome of an election by "swinging"
one way or the other on an issue or candidate, often reversing their choices in
a subsequent election.
|The taxpayer check-off system allows U.S. taxpayers to contribute $3
of their annual federal income tax payment to a public fund for financing
presidential elections. To contribute, taxpayers simply check a box on their tax
return that says that they want to participate in this system. Making the
contribution does not raise or lower an individual's taxes; it simply deposits
$3 of the tax payment into the presidential election campaign
||Term limits involve restricting the
number of years an officeholder or lawmaker may serve in a particular office.
There is a term limit for the U.S. president, who may serve no more than two
consecutive terms, or eight years total. There are no term limits for those who
serve in the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives. Some state and local
offices also are subject to terms limits.
||Any political party that is not one
of the two parties that dominated U.S. politics in the 20th century -- the
Republican Party and the Democratic Party -- and that receives a base of support
and plays a role in influencing the outcome of an election is referred to as a
||Voting for candidates of different political parties in the same
election, for instance, voting for a Democrat for president and a Republican for
senator, is called splitting the ticket. Because these voters support candidates
from more than one political party, they are said to "split" their votes.
||A town meeting is an informal
gathering of an officeholder or candidate for office with a group of people,
often local, in which the audience raises questions directly to the officeholder
||A type of public-opinion poll that allows candidates to follow, or
"track" voters' sentiments over the course of a campaign is called a tracking
survey. For the initial survey, the pollster interviews the same number of
voters on three consecutive nights -- for example, 400 voters a night, for a
total sample of 1,200 people. On the fourth night, the pollster interviews 400
more voters, adds their responses to the poll data, and drops the responses from
the first night. Continuing in this way, the sample rolls along at a constant
1,200 responses drawn from the previous three nights. Over time, the campaign
can analyze the data from the entire survey and observe the effect of certain
events on voters' attitudes.
official document that is the basis of government and law in the United States.
It was written in 1787, and ratified in 1789. Many amendments have been added
||a way to show your preference and
choose elected leaders or decide on initiatives. People can vote by marking a
piece of paper, raising their hand, or filling out a form on a computer.
||a small enclosure in which a person
||a mechanical device used for
voting. There are many different types of voting machines.
of Voting Technology
Since the ancient
Greeks and Romans first cast votes by dropping clay marbles into pots, new
technologies aimed at improving the voting process have emerged. Voting in the
United States has progressed from colored beans to all-electronic machines. As
new technology solves old problems new questions and concerns inevitably
||The Australian state of
Victoria becomes the first place to use uniform official ballots. This style of
paper ballot, later called the Australian Secret Ballot, is printed at the
government's expense, lists the names of all candidates and issues in a fixed
order, and is counted by hand.
||Massachusetts becomes the
first state in the U.S. to adopt the Australian Secret Ballot system on a
statewide basis. This voting system is still used in some areas of the country
(approximately 1% of voters cast hand counted paper ballots in the 2004 U.S.
||Herman Hollerith patents a method of using punched cards to
compile data for the U.S. Census. Although this punch card system
(U.S. Patent 395,782) was not used for voting, the technology laid the
foundation for the punch card voting systems developed in the
||Jacob H. Myers of Rochester, New York patents the first
mechanical lever voting machine (U.S. Patent 415,549). This technology, later
called the Myers Automatic Booth, prevents over votes, speeds up the vote
counting process, and significantly reduces the chance of dishonest vote
counting because the votes are counted by machine.
||The Myers Automatic Booth
lever voting machine was first used in 1892 in Lockport, New York... Lever
machines were on the cutting edge of technology, with more moving parts than
almost anything else being made. As such, they were as much of a high-tech
solution to the problem of running an honest election as computer tabulated
punched-cards in the 1960's or direct-recording electronic voting machines in
||By 1930, lever machines had
been installed in virtually every major city in the United
||The first use of mark-sense
[optical scan] ballots was in 1962, in Kern City, California, using a mark-sense
system developed by the Norden Division of United Aircraft and the City of Los
Angeles. Development of this 15,000 pound system began in 1958... and the system
remained in use in Orange County for over a decade. The system also saw use in
Oregon, Ohio, and North Carolina.
||Fulton and DeKalb Counties
in Georgia were the first jurisdictions to use punch cards and computer tally
machines when they adopted the system for the 1964 primary election. In the
November 1964 Presidential election, these two jurisdictions were joined by Lane
County, Oregon, and San Joaquin and Monterey Counties in California, who also
adopted the punch card system.
||Joseph P. Harris, with the help of William Rouverol, patents
the Votomatic punch card voting system (U.S. Patent 3,201,038). In this system a
voter marks their choice by punching a hole in a prescored card marked with
numbers which correspond to candidates and ballot issues listed in a separate
booklet. The votes are then tabulated by a computerized counting machine. The
Votomatic was an improvement upon the punch card system used the year before and
eventually becomes the most commonly used type of punch card voting
||Richard H. McKay, along with Paul Ziebold, James Kirby, Douglas
Hetzel, and James Syndacker, patents a direct recording electronic (DRE)
voting machine that becomes the first DRE to be used in a real election. This
push-button machine, commercially named the Video Voter (U.S. Patent
3,793,505), uses projected light and phototransmitors but does not contain a
||The Video Voter was first
used in real elections in 1975, in Streamwood and Woodstock Illinois. Following
these demonstrations, several Illinois counties purchased the system and used it
between 1976 and 1980, approximately.
||Roy Saltman prepares the first U.S. government report to evaluate computerized
voting technology. "Effective Use of Computing Technology in Vote-Tallying"
investigates voting system security, design, and functionality, as well as the
ability to conduct audits of election processes and ballot recounts. This paper
initiates the federal Voting Systems Standards program.
||James O. Narey, with the help of William Saylor, patents
(U.S.Patent 4,021,780) the first model of the modern precinct-based
optical scan systems in use today.
1982, the AIS [American Information Systems] model 315 central-count ballot
tabulator saw its first official use in several Nebraska counties. In 1997, AIS
was reorganized as Election Systems and Software [ES&S] after a merger with
Business Records Corporation. The AIS model 315 became the first optical scan
system to be widely used throughout the United States.
||The R.F. Shoup Corporation and Chief Engineer Robert J. Boram patent the Shouptronic ELECTronic voting
machine (U.S. Patent 4,641,240). This push-button machine was one of the first
direct recording electronic voting machines to achieve significant commercial
||Roy Saltman states in his report
"Accuracy, Integrity, and Security in Computerized Vote-Tallying" that "the use
of pre-scored punch cards contributes to the inaccuracy and to the lack of
confidence. It is generally not possible to exactly duplicate a count obtained
on pre-scored punch cards, given the inherent physical characteristics of these
ballots and variability in the ballot-punching performance of real voters. It is
recommended that the use of pre-scored punch card ballots be ended." Despite his
warning, use of punch card voting systems continues until widespread problems in
the 2000 U.S. Presidential election prompt these systems to be banned by the
Help America Vote Act of 2002.
Election Commission (FEC) releases the first set of standards for computer-based
voting systems. The "Performance and Test Standards for Punch card, Marksense
[optical scan], and Direct Recording Electronic Voting Systems" are commonly
referred to as the Voting Systems Standards
||The first governmental election to
be conducted over the Internet in the US was the 1996 Reform Party Presidential
primary, in which Internet voting was offered, along with vote-by-mail and
vote-by-phone, as an option to party members who did not attend the party
|November 7, 2000
||Problems with punch
card voting systems, particularly in Florida, in the 2000 Presidential Election
between George W. Bush and Al Gore put voting technology in the national
spotlight. Inaccurate registration lists, unclear ballot designs, high numbers
of spoiled ballots, and questions about voter intent on cards where the chad,
the small piece of paper punched out of punch card ballots, was not fully
punched out were among the problems. "Hanging chad," "dimpled chad," and
"pregnant chad" are phrases that enter everyday conversation.
||Faculty from the California Institute of Technology and the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology create the Voting Technology Project in
the wake of the 2000 election to provide strong academic guidance in this
intersection of technology with democracy. They offer several recommendations to
improve election administration for the future in their July, 2001 report
Voting: What Is and What Could Be.
||The FEC releases an updated version of the standards for
electronic voting systems. The Voting Systems Standards expand on the first set
of standards by focusing on the voting medium instead of specific kinds of
voting systems and addressing accessibility, usability, telecommunications, and
||President George W. Bush signs the first law to specifically
address voting technology. The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) is "an
act to establish a program to provide funds to States to replace punch card
voting systems, to establish the Election Assistance Commission to assist in the
administration of Federal elections and to otherwise provide assistance with the
administration of certain Federal election laws and programs, to establish
minimum election administration standards for States and units of local
government with responsibility for the administration of Federal elections, and
for other purposes."
The Help America Vote Act of 2002
is signed into law in an effort to improve voting systems across the country.
The law mandates that all polling places have at least one handicap-accessible
voting device, guarantees that any voter not appearing on a registration list
has the right to cast a provisional vote, assures that all voters have the
opportunity to review their selections before casting a ballot, establishes the
Election Assistance Commission, and authorizes $3.9 billion in federal funds for
replacing lever machines and punch card voting systems with either DREs or
optical scan systems with accessible ballot marking devices.
||Following passage of HAVA, the U.S.
Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is
established. The EAC is tasked with providing support and technical guidance on
the administration of federal elections, disbursing the funds allocated under
HAVA, developing a new set of standards, implementing a new program for testing
and certifying voting machines, and serving as a clearinghouse of election
||Georgia becomes the first
state to implement the use of direct recording electronic voting machines on a
statewide basis, deploying the DREs at the same time in every county and paying
for the implementation with state funds instead of county
|July 23, 2003
||Computer security experts
Avi Rubin and Dan Wallach, along with graduate students Tadayoshi Kohno and Adam
Stubblefield, evaluate the security of a particular model of electronic voting
machine based on source code they found on the Internet. Their analysis reveals
several vulnerabilities that lead them to conclude these systems should not be
used for federal elections. This critique is the first independent security
analysis to raise concern about DREs and inspires many computer scientists to
join the debate over the use of electronic voting machines.
|December 9, 2003
||The Information Technology
Association of America (ITAA) today announced a group of leading election
systems companies will align with ITAA to form the Election Technology Council
(ETC). ETC members will work together to raise the profile of electronic voting,
identify and address security concerns with electronic voting, develop a code of
ethics for companies in the electronic voting sector, and make recommendations
in the areas of election system standards and
|April 30, 2004
||Secretary of State
Kevin Shelley decertifies all touch screen electronic voting machines in the
state of California and bans their use in four counties that had been using them
until significant improvements are made to the security of the systems.
|May 5, 2004
||The U.S. Election Assistance
Commission conducts their first public meeting, inviting testimony from a
diversity of experts including election officials, computer scientists,
disability advocates, and voting machine manufacturers.
|July 16, 2004
||Nevada becomes the first state to
mandate that all electronic voting machines used for federal elections be
equipped with printers that produce a voter-verified paper audit trail.
||During the November 2004 General
Election in Carteret County, North Carolina electronic voting machines lost
4,438 votes. The manufacturer, Unilect, claimed the machines could store up to
10,500 votes but they actually only held 3,005 votes. Officials were unaware of
the problem because the machines kept accepting votes after their memory was
full, despite not being able to store them, and those votes were irretrievably
||The Commission on Federal
Election Reform, chaired by President Jimmy Carter and former U.S. Secretary of
State James Baker, releases a report. Building Confidence in U.S. Elections
makes several recommendations for improving confidence in elections and
modernizing election administration, including a recommendation that all DREs
include voter-verified paper audit trails.
||Black Box Voting, Inc. sets up a demonstration in Leon County,
Florida in which computer security experts Harri Hursti and Herbert Thompson are
able to hack into the central vote tabulator of an electronic voting system and
change the outcome of a mock election without leaving any trace of their
actions. This exercise demonstrates that the software running electronic voting
systems is vulnerable to tampering.
||The EAC unanimously adopts the 2005 Voluntary Voting System
Guidelines. These new standards significantly increase security requirements for
voting systems and expand accessibility for disabled individuals, including
opportunities to vote privately and independently. The Guidelines will take
effect in December 2007, at which time all previous standards will become
|January 1, 2006
||Beginning in 2006,
HAVA requires that voting systems notify voters of over votes and permit them to
review their ballots and correct errors before casting their votes.... Also
beginning in 2006, [HAVA requires] that each polling place used in a federal
election have at least one voting machine that is fully accessible for persons
||Black Box Voting, Inc. and computer security specialist Harri
Hursti perform a security test on an electronic voting machine delivered to
Emery County, Utah. Hursti shows that the machine contains backdoors that allow
the software to be modified in several ways, including a type of attack in which
the cheating software can be installed months or years before it is
|September 13, 2006
expert Dr. Edward Felten, with the help of graduate students Ariel Feldman and
J. Alex Halderman, demonstrates that with less than a minute of physical access
to a Diebold electronic voting machine or its PCMCIA memory card, an attacker
could install malware that could steal votes while modifying all records, logs,
and counters to be consistent with the fraudulent vote count it creates and
could also introduce a voting machine virus that spreads from machine to
||Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. (R) publicly urges
voters to vote by absentee paper ballot instead of using the state's electronic
voting machines in the November 2006 General Election after problems with the
machines emerged during Maryland's primary. His announcement represents a
complete change of opinion about DREs because Maryland had previously been one
of the first states to implement electronic voting machines on a statewide basis
while Ehrlich was governor in 2002.
||Because of funding made available and changes mandated by the
Help America Vote Act, use of DREs in the General Election is the highest in
U.S. history. According to Election Data Services, voting system changes this
year were dominated by smaller jurisdictions, where resources to help the
conversion are more limited... Thirty-six percent (36%) of the counties, with
38.4% of the registered voters, will be using direct recording electronic (DRE)
|January 4 - 2007
||The New York Times
reports that CIBER Inc., the nation's largest tester of electronic voting
machine software, was denied accreditation by the EAC in July 2006. Because
CIBER had tested many of the electronic voting systems used in the November 2006
election and its failure to receive accreditation was not disclosed until
January 2007, many election officials unknowingly employed DREs that had not
been tested by an accredited
This section is under development ... check back soon!
Milestones in Voting
The ability to vote
exists as one of the most cherished Rights that our forefathers fought for,
marched for, and died for over the centuries. Wars still rage so that citizens of other countries can
earn this right; the right that many of us now take for
The following spotlights the important milestones in
voting history. It is meant to provide you with an understanding of
and appreciation for the price our ancestors paid in order for us to
enjoy the freedom of democracy.
I. 1776 -
|July 2, 1776
||The New Jersey state constitution
allows “all inhabitants . . . who are worth fifty pounds” to vote, including
women and people of color. In 1807 the requirement is rewritten to specify only
|August 6, 1787
||The Constitutional Convention
finishes writing the U.S. Constitution.
||George Washington is elected first
president of the United States by the Electoral College, with all sixty-nine
||Ten states have property
requirements for voting (Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, Virginia,
Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, Massachusetts, and South
1800 - 1899
||Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tie
for president in the Electoral College. With no provisions existing for this
situation, the House of Representatives votes for the president, electing
Jefferson on February 17, 1801.
||The Twelfth Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution is ratified, requiring separate Electoral College voting for
president and vice president, and reducing from five to three the number of
candidates from which the Electoral College can choose.
|November 10, 1821
||New York State ratifies its second
constitution. Property requirements are dropped for whites, but “men of color”
must have for one year “seized and possessed” a freehold over the value of
||The first Woman’s Rights Convention
is held in Seneca Falls, New York. The goal of women’s suffrage is first
expressed in Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s Declaration of Sentiments, basing its text
on the Declaration of Independence.
||Dred Scott v. Sanford: The U.S.
Supreme Court rules that Dred Scott, a slave brought to a free state by his
master, remain a slave.
|September 22, 1862
||Abraham Lincoln, as
commander-in-chief, issues the Emancipation Proclamation.
|December 6, 1865
||The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution is ratified, abolishing slavery in the United States.
|April 9, 1866
||The Civil Rights Act of 1866 is
passed, declaring that all persons born in the United States are now citizens,
without regard to race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
|March 23, 1867
||The Reconstruction Act of 1867 is
passed, dividing former Confederate States into five military districts which
would not be readmitted into the Union until they a) enacted state constitutions
with African Americans given the right to vote and b) ratified the Fourteenth
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
||The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution is ratified, establishing citizenship and ensuring equal protection
under the law.
|May 22, 1869
||National Woman Suffrage Association
(NWSA) is formed in New York City with Elizabeth Cady Stanton as its first
|May 27, 1869
||The American Woman Suffrage
Association is formed in Boston by Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, and Julia Ward
Howe. The AWSA and the NWSA join in 1890.
||The Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution is ratified, declaring that citizens cannot be denied the right to
vote based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
|February 25, 1870
||Mississippi Republican Hiram Revels
becomes the first African American to be elected a U. S. Senator.
|February 28, 1871
||The Enforcement Act is passed,
providing criminal penalties for interfering with suffrage under the Fifteenth
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
||Susan B. Anthony and eleven other
women are arrested in Rochester, New York, for voting in the presidential
|May 10, 1872
||Victoria Woodhull becomes the first
woman to run for president.
||The Civil Rights Act is approved by
the U. S. Congress. It banned racial discrimination in hotels, theaters, public
transportation, and jury selection. The Act is nullified by the U.S. Supreme
Court in 1883.
|March 5, 1875
||Mississippi Republican Blanche K.
Bruce, son of a slave mother and a white planter, becomes the first African
American elected to the U. S. Senate to serve a full term, 1875 to
|March 2, 1877
||The Electoral College declares
Republican Rutherford B. Hayes the President of the United States over Democrat
Samuel Tilden, thus deciding the 1876 election.
|May 6, 1882
||First Chinese Exclusion Act, which
barred Chinese laborers from entering the United States, restricted the number
and type of other Chinese from entering the country, and barred Chinese
immigrants from becoming citizens through naturalization. It was renewed on May
5, 1892, and April 29, 1902.
||The U. S. Supreme Court rules in Elk
v. Wilkins that Native Americans, although born in the United States, were not
wholly subject to the jurisdiction of the United States government, and
therefore were not protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S.
|April 4, 1887
||Susanna Medora Salter is the first
woman elected mayor of a town in the United States-Argonia, Kansas.
|July 10, 1890
||Wyoming becomes the first state to
grant women full suffrage rights.
||The Meyers Voting Machine, the first
mechanical-lever voting machine, is introduced in elections at Lockport, New
York. The machine was designed to prevent voter fraud.
III. 1900 -
||The Burke Act is passed by the U. S.
Congress, granting citizenship to Native Americans who were allotted land
through the Dawes Act.
||The North American Women Suffrage
Association leads the Women’s Suffrage Parade in Washington, D. C. Over 6,000
|April 8, 1913
||The Seventeenth Amendment to the
U.S. Constitution is ratified, setting the number of Senators of the U. S.
Senate at two from each state, elected by popular vote instead of selected by
||Twenty-five thousand women march in
New York City for the right to vote.
Republican-Montana, is the first woman elected to Congress.
|January 10, 1917
||Alice Paul and the National Woman’s
Party begin picketing the White House. Picketing would end in November 1917
after New York State granted women full suffrage rights.
|November 6, 1917
||North Dakota, Ohio, Indiana, Rhode
Island, Nebraska, Michigan, New York, and Arkansas all grant women
|November 4, 1919
||New York State voters pass an
amendment to the state constitution allowing for absentee
||League of Women Voters is founded,
with Maud Wood Park elected as president.
||The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution is ratified, guaranteeing suffrage for women.
|November 13, 1922
||Supreme Court rules, in Takao Ozawa
v. United States, that people of Japanese heritage are not eligible to become
||The Snyder Act, or Indian
Citizenship Act, grants Native Americans the full rights of citizenship of the
United States without having to give up their tribal affiliations. However, many
western states restrict voting by Native Americans.
|November 4, 1924
||Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming and
Miriam A. “Ma” Ferguson of Texas, are the first women elected as state
|July 12, 1932
||Hattie Wyatt Caraway of Arkansas
becomes the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate in a special election to
succeed her deceased husband.
||Reform New York City Charter goes
into effect, abolishing the Board of Aldermen and establishing the City
||Chinese Exclusion Act is repealed,
making people of Chinese ancestry eligible for U.S. citizenship.
|June 30, 1952
||Walter-McCarran Act grants all
people of Asian ancestry the right to become citizens. However, the act sets
restrictions on the number who can immigrate.
|December 31, 1953
||Hulan Jack sworn in as Manhattan
Borough President, the first African American to serve in that
|November 7, 1956
||Dalip Singh Saund, a Democrat from
Riverside County, California, is the first South Asian to be elected to the U.S.
|September 9, 1957
||Civil Rights Act is passed,
permitting the federal government to sue on behalf of citizens and creating the
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
||Republican Hiram Fong is the first
person of Chinese descent to be elected to the U.S. Senate.
|April 16-17, 1960
||Ella Baker, a longtime civil rights
activist, invites students involved in sit-ins to a conference in Raleigh, NC.
The group organizes the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee
|March 29, 1961
||The Twenty-third Amendment to the
U.S. Constitution is ratified, granting Washington, D. C. residents the right to
vote in U.S. Presidential elections for the first time.
|June 12, 1963
||Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers is
assassinated by a white supremacist in Jackson, Mississippi.
|August 28, 1963
||March on Washington for Jobs and
Freedom brings 250,000 Americans to the capital, setting in motion the passage
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. gives his famous
“I Have a Dream” speech.
||The Twenty-fourth Amendment to the
U.S. Constitution is ratified, ensuring that the right to vote in all federal
elections cannot be taken away by the United States or any states due to failure
to pay any poll or other tax.
||Mississippi Freedom Summer
Volunteers Michael Schwerner, a Columbia University graduate student, James
Chaney, a young Mississippi activist, and Andrew Goodman, a student at Queens
College, CUNY are murdered by the Ku Klux Klan after investigating a church
|July 2, 1964
||Major federal Omnibus Civil Rights
Act is passed, making it illegal to discriminate based on race, religion, or
gender in places and businesses that served the public.
|August 22, 1964
||Fannie Lou Hamer, Chairwoman of the
integrated Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, gives testimony to the
Democratic Party National Convention in Atlantic City, NJ. She unsuccessfully
demanded that the MFDP be seated as the Mississippi delegation in place of the
racist all-white delegation. She asked on national television: “Is this America,
the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we are threatened daily
because we want to live as decent human beings?”
|March 7, 1965
||The Southern Christian Leadership
Conference (SCLC) and SNCC lead a peaceful demonstration against unjust voter
registration tests in Selma, Alabama. Under the direction of Governor George
Wallace, law enforcement officers brutally attack hundreds of demonstrators with
clubs and tear gas, in the infamous “Bloody Sunday.”
|March 21-25, 1965
||March on Montgomery, Alabama led by
Martin Luther King, Jr. The four-day march ends with a rally outside the state
capitol in Montgomery on March 25 attended by 25,000 people.
|August 6, 1965
||Voting Rights Act is passed,
authorizing the U.S. Attorney-General to send federal examiners to register
black voters, and suspend all literacy tests in states where less than 50% of
the voting-age population had been registered or had voted in the 1964
|July 1, 1965
||The Hart-Celler Immigration Act of
1965 is signed into law by President Johnson on Liberty Island, eliminating the
racist quota system of the National Origins Act of 1924.
|November 1, 1966
||Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts is
elected the first African-American U.S. senator since
||Barbara Jordan becomes the first
African American to serve in the Texas state senate since 1883. She later serves
in the U.S. Congress.
||Martin Luther King, Jr. announces
the SCLC’s first voter registration drive in a northern city, Cleveland,
|November 7, 1967
||Carl Stokes is elected mayor of
Cleveland, Ohio, the first African American mayor of a major city.
|November 5, 1968
||Shirley Chisholm of Brooklyn, New
York becomes the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress.
|April 30, 1969
||Governor Nelson Rockefeller signs
the New York City School Decentralization Bill into law, allowing for the
election of Community School Boards by proportional representation and grants
voting rights to non-citizens with children attending public
|September 28, 1970
||Senior College XVII in Brooklyn
named Medgar Evers College by the City University of New York to honor the slain
civil rights activist.
||The Bronx elects Herman Badillo the
first Puerto Rican in the U.S. Congress.
||The Twenty-sixth Amendment to the
U.S. Constitution gives 18-20 year-olds the right to vote.
|November 7, 1972
||Elizabeth Holtzman of Brooklyn, NY
becomes the youngest women elected to the U.S. Congress.
|May 19, 1975
||The New York State Legislature
approves a bill that allows voter registration by mail.
|August 6, 1975
||The Voting Rights Act is amended to
include rights for language minorities.
|September 28, 1984
||The Voting Accessibility for the
Elderly and the Handicapped Act requires “access for the elderly and handicapped
individuals to registration facilities and polling places in federal
|May 26, 1987
||The CUNY Board of Trustees passes a
resolution that all CUNY colleges must integrate voter registration into the
student registration process.
||Americans with Disabilities Act
requires full access to voting facilities for the disabled.
|October 6, 1990
||The Christian Coalition of America
is founded. The Coalition has registered and mobilized millions of
|November 3, 1992
||Illinois elects Carol Moseley Braun
the first African American woman in the U.S. Senate.
|May 20, 1993
||National Voter Registration Act is
signed by President Bill Clinton, which allows voter registration at the same
time as an application or renewal of a driver’s license or motor vehicle
registration. In addition, it creates voter registration opportunities for those
seeking services from all state offices and state-funded programs, and voter
registration by mail.
||Local Law 1993/094 goes into effect
in New York City, establishing term limits for the mayor, city council members,
public advocate, and comptroller.
IV. 2000 -
||The presidential election between
Albert Gore and George W. Bush ends in deadlock when Florida’s deciding
electoral votes are subject to an automatic recount.
|December 8, 2000
||Florida Supreme Court orders a
recount of “undervotes” in all sixty-seven Florida counties. Bush appeals to the
U.S. Supreme Court.
||U.S. Supreme Court overturns the
Florida Supreme Court decision, ending all recounts and establishing Bush’s
victory in Florida and his election to the presidency.
|October 29, 2002
||President George W. Bush signs the
Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which mandates funds to states to replace punch
card voting systems; to establish the Election Assistance Commission to assist
in the administration of Federal elections; and to provide assistance with the
administration of certain Federal election laws and
Timeline of the American Suffragist Movement
Suffrage (from the Latin suffragium, meaning "vote") is the civil right to vote, or the exercise of that right. In that context, it is also called political franchise or simply the franchise.
Women's suffrage is the right of women to vote, and the women's suffrage movement was the struggle to gain the same right to vote as men.
Women today have the same voting rights as men. However, this was not always the case.
In the early nineteenth century, changing social conditions and the idea of equality led to the beginning of the woman suffrage movement.
By then, more women were receiving education. Women also began to participate in reform movements and take increased interest in politics. Women and men began to question why women were not also allowed to vote. Supporters of this drive were called suffragists.
The following timeline explains the key milestones in the American Suffragist Movement:
||Anne Hutchinson is convicted of sedition and expelled from the Massachusetts colony for her religious ideas.
||The Society of Friends, better known as the Quakers, is founded in England. Quakers will make vital contributions to the abolitionist and suffrage movements in the United States. One Quaker woman, Mary Dyer, will be hanged in 1660 for preaching in Boston.
||During the second Continental Congress, Abigail Adams entreats her husband John to "remember the ladies" in the new code of laws he is writing.
||The colony of New Jersey grants the vote to "all free inhabitants."
||New Jersey women lose their vote, with the repeal sponsored by a politician who was nearly defeated by a female voting block ten years earlier.
||Emma Hart Willard founds the Troy Female Seminary in New York--the first endowed school for girls.
||Author Frances Wright travels the United States on a paid lecture tour, perhaps the first ever by a woman. She attacks organized religion for the secondary place it assigns women, and advocates the empowerment of women through divorce and birth control.
||Oberlin College becomes the first coeducational college in the United States. In 1841, Oberlin awards the first academic degrees to three women. Early graduates include Lucy Stone and Antoinette Brown.
||Sarah Grimké begins her speaking career as an abolitionist and a women's rights advocate. She is eventually silenced by male abolitionists who consider her public speaking a liability.
||The first National Female Anti-Slavery Society convention meets in New York City. Eighty-one delegates from twelve states attend.
||Mary Lyon founds Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, eventually the first four-year college exclusively for women in the United States. Mt.Holyoke was followed by Vassar in 1861, and Wellesley and Smith Colleges, both in 1875. In 1873, the School Sisters of Notre Dame found a school in Baltimore, Maryland, which would eventually become the nation's first college for Catholic women.
||Sarah Grimké publishes "Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women." She and her sister Angelina will be active in both the suffrage and the abolitionist movements.
||Mississippi passes the first Married Woman's Property Act.
||The World Anti-Slavery Convention is held in London. Abolitionists Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton attend, but they are barred from participating in the meeting. This snub leads them to decide to hold a women's rights convention when they return to America.
||Female textile workers in Massachusetts organize the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association (LFLRA) and demand a 10-hour workday. This was one of the first permanent labor associations for working women in the United States.
||Three hundred people attend the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Among the attendees are Amelia Bloomer, Charlotte Woodward, and Frederick Douglas. Lucretia Mott's husband James presides. At that meeting, Stanton authors the Declaration of Sentiments, which sets the agenda for decades of women's activism. A larger meeting follows in Rochester.
||Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery. Over the next ten years she leads many slaves to freedom by the Underground Railroad.
||A women's rights conventions is held in Salem, Ohio; men are not permitted to speak at the meeting.
||Amelia Jenks Bloomer launches the dress reform movement with a costume bearing her name. The Bloomer costume was later abandoned by many suffragists who feared it detracted attention from more serious women's rights issues.
||The first National Women's Rights Convention is held in Worcester, Massachusetts; among the attendees are Paulina Wright Davis, Frederick Douglass, Abby Kelly Foster, William Lloyd Garrison, Lucy Stone, and Sojourner Truth.
||Sojourner Truth delivers her "Ain't I a Woman?" speech at a women's rights convention in Akron, Ohio.
||The second National Woman's Rights Convention is held in Worcester, Massachusetts; celebrities new to the list of endorsers include educator Horace Mann, New York Tribune columnist Elizabeth Oakes Smith, and Reverend Harry Ward Beecher, one of the nation's most popular preachers. Lucretia Mott presides.
||Westminster Review publishes John Stuart Mill's article, "On the Enfranchisement of Women." Mill later admits that the piece is the work of his companion, Harriet Hardy Taylor.
||Newspaper editor Clara Howard Nichols addresses the Vermont Senate on the topic of women's property rights, a major issue for the suffragists.
||Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin is published and rapidly becomes a best-seller.
||On the occasion of the World's Fair in New York City, suffragists hold a meeting in the Broadway Tabernacle. It will go down in history as "The Mob Convention," marred by "hissing, yelling, stamping, and all manner of unseemly interruptions."
||The World's Temperance Convention is held, also in New York City. Women delegates, including Rev. Antoinette Brown and Susan B. Anthony, are not allowed to speak.
||The Massachusetts legislature grants property rights to women.
||Prominent suffragists Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell marry; they eliminate the vow of obedience from the ceremony and include a protest against unfair marriage laws.
||The successful vulcanization of rubber provides women with reliable condoms for the first time. The birth rate in the United States continues its downward, century-long spiral. By the late 1900s, women will raise an average of only two to three children, in contrast to the five or six children they raised at the beginning of the century.
||The American Civil War disrupts suffrage activity as women, North and South, divert their energies to "war work." The War itself, however, serves as a "training ground," as women gain important organizational and occupational skills they will later use in postbellum organizational activity.
||The Eleventh National Women's Rights Convention, the first since the beginning of the Civil War, is held in New York City. Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony preside over a merger between suffragists and the American Anti-Slavery Association: the new group is called the American Equal Rights Association.
||Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, Clarina Nichols, and others travel to Kansas to agitate for women's suffrage. After months of campaigning, suffragists are defeated on the fall ballot.
||At the American Equal Rights Association annual meeting, opinions divide sharply on supporting the enfranchisement of black men before women.
||Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony have a falling out with longtime ally Horace Greely, editor of the New York Tribune. As a result, Stanton and Anthony begin publishing The Revolution, a weekly newspaper devoted to suffrage and other progressive causes.
||The Fourteenth Amendment is ratified, which extends to all citizens the protections of the Constitution against unjust state laws. This Amendment was the first to define "citizens" and "voters" as "male."
||The women's rights movement splits into two factions as a result of disagreements over the Fourteenth and soon-to-be-passed Fifteenth Amendments. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony form the more radical, New York-based National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, and Julia Ward Howe organize the more conservative American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), which is centered in Boston.
||The Wyoming territory is organized with a woman suffrage provision.
||The territory of Wyoming is the first to grant unrestricted suffrage to women. Arguments over the Fifteenth Amendment lead to a split in the movement. Stanton and Anthony form the National Woman Suffrage Association; it allows only female membership and advocates for woman suffrage above all other issues. Lucy Stone forms the American Woman Suffrage Association, which supports the Fifteenth Amendment and invites men to participate.
||The American Woman Suffrage Association begins publishing the Woman's Journal, edited by Mary Livermore.
||The Fifteenth Amendment is ratified. Although its gender-neutral language appears to grant women the vote, women who go to the polls to test the amendment are turned away.
||Esther Morris is appointed the justice of the peace of South Pass City, Wyoming: she is the first female government official.
||The Utah territory enfranchises women.
||A suffrage proposal before the Dakota Territory legislature loses by one vote.
||Susan B. Anthony is arrested and brought to trial in Rochester, New York, for attempting to vote for Ulysses S. Grant in the presidential election. At the same time, Sojourner Truth appears at a polling booth in Battle Creek, Michigan, demanding a ballot; she is turned away.
||The Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) is founded by Annie Wittenmyer. With Frances Willard at its head (1876), the WCTU became an important force in the fight for woman suffrage. Not surprisingly, one of the most vehement opponents to women's enfranchisement was the liquor lobby, which feared women might use the franchise to prohibit the sale of liquor.
||In the case of Minor vs. Happersett, the Supreme Court rules that the Fourteenth Amendment does not grant women the right to vote.
||A referendum gives Michigan's male voters the chance to enfranchise women, but they vote against women's suffrage.
||Michigan and Minnesota women win the right to vote in school elections.
||A federal amendment to grant women the right to vote is introduced for the first time by Senator A.A. Sargeant of California. The wording is unchanged in 1919, when the amendment finally passes both houses.
||The first International Woman's Rights Congress is held in Paris, France.
||Due to subversion by the liquor industry, the suffragists lose electoral battles in Nebraska and Indiana.
||Women in the Washington territory are granted full voting rights.
||Prominent suffragists travel to Liverpool, where they form the International Council of Women. At this meeting, the leaders of the National and American associations work together, laying the foundation for a reconciliation between these two groups.
||The Supreme Court strikes down the law that enfranchised women in the Washington territory. Meanwhile, Congress denies women in Utah their right to vote. Kansas women win the right to vote in municipal elections.
||Rhode Island becomes the first eastern state to vote on a women's suffrage referendum, but it does not pass.
||The NWSA and the AWSA are reunited as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) under the leadership of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. During this same year, Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr found Hull House, a settlement house project in Chicago's 19th Ward. Within one year, there are more than a hundred settlement houses--largely operated by women--throughout the United States. The settlement house movement and the Progressive campaign of which it was a part propelled thousands of college-educated white women and a number of women of color into lifetime careers in social work. It also made women an important voice to be reckoned with in American politics.
||Wyoming was admitted to the Union with its suffrage provision intact.
||Ida B. Wells launches her nation-wide anti-lynching campaign after the murder of three black businessmen in Memphis, Tennessee.
||As a result of the strategy of Carrie Chapman Catt, Colorado men make their state the second in which women have full voting rights.
||Hannah Greenbaum Solomon founds the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) after a meeting of the Jewish Women's Congress at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.
||Elizabeth Cady Stanton publishes The Woman's Bible. After its publication, NAWSA moves to distance itself from this venerable suffrage pioneer because many conservative suffragists considered her to be too radical and, thus, potentially damaging to the suffrage campaign. From this time, Stanton--who had resigned as NAWSA president in 1892--was no longer invited to sit on the stage at NAWSA conventions.
||The New York State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage begins.
||The National American association hires Ida Husted Harper to launch an expensive suffrage campaign in California, which ultimately fails.
||Mary Church Terrell, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Margaret Murray Washington, Fanny Jackson Coppin, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Charlotte Forten Grimké, and former slave Harriet Tubman meet in Washington, D.C. to form the National Association of Colored Women (NACW).
||Catt organizes her second successful western campaign; Idaho enfranchises women because Catt manages to sever the suffrage issue from the eastern movement and prohibition.
||Utah becomes a state, and Utah women regain the vote.
||The National American association begins publishing the National Suffrage Bulletin, edited by Catt.
||Susan B. Anthony retires as the president of the National American and, to the surprise of many, recommends Carrie Chapman Catt as her successor; Catt is elected.
||Women from 10 nations meet in Washington, D.C. to plan an international effort for suffrage. Clara Barton is among the distinguished speakers.
||New Hampshire's men vote down a women's suffrage referendum.
||Mary Dreier, Rheta Childe Dorr, Leonora O'Reilly, and others form the Women's Trade Union League of New York, an organization of middle- and working-class women dedicated to unionization for working women and to woman suffrage. This group later became a nucleus of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU).
||Dissidents from the International Council of Women form the more aggressive International Women Suffrage Alliance.
||Because Catt must attend to her dying husband, Rev. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw takes over as president of the National American.
||Stanton's daughter, Harriot Stanton Blatch, returns from England and is appalled by the National American association's conservatism. She responds by forming the Equality League of Self Supporting Women, to reach out to the working class.
||The Women's Trade Union League coordinates a large strike by 20,000 women workers in New York's garment district. Wealthy women support the strike with a boycott. Through strikes, working class women connect with suffrage movement.
||Emma Smith DeVoe organizes a grass-roots campaign in Washington State, where women win full enfranchisement.
||Blatch's Equality League changes its name to the Women's Political Union.
||Emulating the grassroots tactics of labor activists, they organize America's first large-scale suffrage parade, which is held in New York City.
||With little help from the National American, California women win full voting rights.
||Alaska's territorial legislature enfranchises women.
||Abigail Scott Duniway dissuades National American members from involving themselves in Oregon's grassroots suffrage campaign; Oregon women win the vote.
||The Arizona territory becomes a state that includes women as voters.
||Kansas enfranchises women.
||Presidential candidates court the female vote for the first time. Democrat Woodrow Wilson wins the election.
||Suffragists Alice Paul and Lucy Burns organize the Congressional Union, later known as the National Women's Party (1916). Borrowing the tactics of the radical, militant Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) in England, members of the Woman's Party participate in hunger strikes, picket the White House, and engage in other forms of civil disobedience to publicize the suffrage cause.
||Alice Paul She becomes the leader of the Congressional Union (CU), a militant branch of the National American association.
||Kate Gordon organizes the Southern States Woman Suffrage Conference, where suffragists plan to lobby state legislatures for laws that will enfranchise white women only.
||Illinois grants women a new form of partial suffrage by allowing them to vote only in presidential elections.
||The National Federation of Women's Clubs--which by this time included more than two million white women and women of color throughout the United States--formally endorses the suffrage campaign.
||The Senate votes on the "Susan B. Anthony" amendment, but it does not pass.
||Nevada and Montana enfranchise women.
||The CU alienates leaders of the National American association by campaigning against pro-suffrage Democrats in the congressional elections.
||Anna Howard Shaw's tactical conservatism culminates in a loss of support from the National American members. She resigns and Catt replaces her as president.
||Woodrow Wilson promises that the Democratic Party Platform will endorse suffrage. Meanwhile, the CU transforms itself into the National Woman's Party.
||Montana elects suffragist Jeanette Rankin to the House of Representatives.
||NAWSA president Carrie Chapman Catt unveils her "winning plan" for suffrage victory at a convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Catt's plan required the coordination of activities by a vast cadre of suffrage workers in both state and local associations.
||Police begin arresting women who are picketing outside the White House. Some, including Paul and Lucy Burns, go on hunger strike while in jail; their militancy earns them sympathy from some quarters and disdain from others. The U.S. enters W.W.I. Under the leadership of Catt, the National American association aligns itself with the war effort in order to gain support for women's suffrage.
||The Arkansas legislature grants women the right to vote in primary, but not general elections. The result of this partial suffrage is that white women win the vote, but black women do not.
||Five Midwestern states and Rhode Island grant women the right to vote in presidential elections only.
||New York State is the first eastern state to fully enfranchise women.
||President Wilson issues a statement supporting a federal amendment to grant woman's suffrage.
||Rankin opens debate in the House on a new suffrage amendment, which passes.
||President Wilson addresses the Senate in support of the Nineteenth Amendment, but it fails to win the required 2/3 majority of Senate votes.
||Michigan, Oklahoma, and South Dakota join the full suffrage states.
||The National American association holds its convention in St. Louis, where Catt rallies to transform the association into the League of Women Voters.
||For a third time, the House votes to enfranchise women. The Senate finally passes the Nineteenth Amendment, and suffragists begin their ratification campaign.
||In the case of Hawk vs. Smith, anti-suffragists file suit against the Ohio legislature, but the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of Ohio's ratification process.
||Despite the political subversion of anti-suffragists, particularly in Tennessee, three quarters of state legislatures ratify the Nineteenth Amendment on 26 August. American women win full voting rights.
||The Great War (World War I) 1918-1920 intervenes to slow down the suffrage campaign as some--but not all--suffragists decide to shelve their suffrage activism in favor of "war work." In the long run, however, this decision proves to be a prudent one as it adds yet another reason to why women deserve the vote.
||The Nineteenth Amendment is ratified. Its victory accomplished, NAWSA ceases to exist, but its organization becomes the nucleus of the League of Women Voters.
||The National Woman's Party first proposes the Equal Rights Amendment to eliminate discrimination on the basis of gender. It has never been ratified.
The National Women's Hall of Fame is founded in Seneca Falls New York. the small village where the women's Suffragist Movement all began. The Hall is home to exhibits, artifacts of historical interest, a research library and office.
The National Women's Hall of Fame, holds as its mission:
"To honor in perpetuity these women, citizens of the United States of America whose contributions to the arts, athletics, business, education, government, the humanities, philanthropy and science, have been the greatest value for the development of their country."
The Hall is a shrine to some of the greatest women in the history of this country and a tribute that grows annually with each induction ceremony as we learn to appreciate more about the wonderful contributions that women make to our civilization.
||William H. Chafe, The American Woman: Her Changing Social, Economic, and Political Roles, 1920-1970; Nancy Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism; Thomas Dublin, Women at Work: The Transformation of Work and Community in Lowell, Massachusetts, 1826-1860; Sara M. Evans, Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America; Eleanor Flexner, Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States, rev. ed.; Debra Franklin, The Heritage We Claim: College of Notre Dame of Maryland, 1896-1996; National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) Collection, Rare Books Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Anne Firor Scott and Andrew Scott, One Half the People: The Fight for Woman Suffrage; "From Parlor to Politics,"
|American presidents are
elected not directly by the people, but by the people's electors.
This is prescribed in the U.S. Constitution.
|The Electoral College was created by the framers of the U.S. Constitution
as an alternative to electing the president by popular vote or by Congress. Each
state elects the number of representatives to the Electoral College that is
equal to its number of Senators—two from each state—plus its number of delegates
in the House of Representatives.
|The District of Columbia, which has no voting representation in Congress,
has three Electoral College votes. There are currently 538 electors in the
Electoral College; 270 votes are needed to win the presidential election.
|On Election Day, when American voters mark their ballots for their favorite
presidential candidate, they are, in actuality, voting for a group of state
electors. These electors are pledged to vote for that candidate in the Electoral
College, the body of representatives that really elects the president and vice
|The only exceptions are the states of Maine and Nebraska, where two
electors are chosen by statewide popular vote and the remainder by the popular
vote within each congressional district.
|Consequently, political parties must consider each state to be a separate
race, keeping in mind that it is not the national total of votes that counts; it
is how many electoral votes a candidate receives that will determine who goes to
the White House. Candidates must run both a national campaign in which their
messages are carried by the country's mass media and more targeted state races
that address local and regional issues and concerns.
|Many states, by virtue of their demographics or economic profile, will
predictably favor a certain candidate or party. In recent years, there has been
a wide discussion of so-called red and blue states, states that have tended to
vote in majority for Republicans (red) or Democrats (blue).
|The maps illustrating these distinctions show most blue states along the
coasts and most red states in the south and center of the country. Those states
that are too hard to predict -- known as battleground or swing states -- tend to
be the focus of many of the resources of both campaigns.
|Battleground states, where the candidates are currently running within a
few percentage points of each other, can change from election to election or
even during a single election season. In 2004 there were 10 battleground states:
Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon,
West Virginia and Wisconsin. Together, these 10 states represented 116 of the
270 electoral votes needed to win.
|Campaign strategists must calculate how much time and money a candidate
needs to spend in any given state in order to have the best chance of winning.
In 2004, President George Bush and Senator John Kerry made numerous visits to
battleground states like Pennsylvania and Ohio during the campaign.
|In addition to the presidential candidates themselves, their vice
presidential running mates, family members and other surrogates such as popular
local politicians made speeches on behalf of the campaigns in the various
|In a close race, voter turnout is decisive, so both campaigns organize
get-out-the-vote efforts to identify supporters and either get them to the polls
on Election Day or encourage them to vote early by mailing in absentee ballots.
Both parties also have active voter registration programs aimed especially at
communities likely to favor their candidates.
|The winner of the Electoral College vote usually is the candidate who has
won the popular vote. However, it is possible to win the presidency without
winning the popular vote. The most recent case occurred in the 2000 presidential
election when President Bush won the Electoral College vote - 271 to 266 - after
losing the popular vote to then Vice President Al Gore.
|Two other presidents - Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876 and Benjamin Harrison in
1888 - became president without winning the popular vote. In the 1824 election
between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, Jackson won the popular vote but
neither won a majority of Electoral College votes.
|Adams secured the presidency only after the election was decided by vote of
the House of Representatives, a procedure provided for in the Constitution when
no candidate wins a majority of the Electoral College.
|Source: US Department of State
The President and Vice-President are elected every four years.
They must be at least 35 years of age, they must be native-born citizens of the
They must have been residents of the U.S. for at least 14 years.
A person cannot be elected to a third term as President.
|2. John Adams (1735-1826)
|3. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
||Aaron Burr, George
|4. James Madison (1751-1836)
||George Clinton, Elbridge
|5. James Monroe
|6. John Quincy
|7. Andrew Jackson
||John Calhoun, Martin van
|8. Martin van Buren
|9. William H. Harrison
|10. John Tyler
|11. James K. Polk
|12. Zachary Taylor
|13. Millard Fillmore
|14. Franklin Pierce
|15. James Buchanan
|17. Andrew Johnson
|18. Ulysses S. Grant
|19. Rutherford Hayes
|20. James Garfield
|23. Benjamin Harrison
|25. William McKinley
||Garret Hobart, Theodore
|26. Theodore Roosevelt
|27. William Taft
|28. Woodrow Wilson
|29. Warren Harding
|30. Calvin Coolidge
|31. Herbert C. Hoover
|32. Franklin Delano
||John Garner, Henry Wallace,
|33. Harry S Truman
|34. Dwight David
Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963)
|36. Lyndon Baines Johnson
|37. Richard Milhous Nixon
||Spiro Agnew, Gerald R. Ford
|38. Gerald R. Ford (1913-
|39. James (Jimmy) Earl Carter, Jr.
|40. Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911-
||George H. W.
|41. George H. W. Bush (1924-
||James Danforth (Dan)
|42. William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton
|43. George W. Bush (1946- )
|44. Barack Obama (1961- )
Note: The Republican party was renamed the Union party for the 1864 election.
Therefore, Lincoln also served under the Union party label. For Washington's
initial election, political parties were not in existence. He became associated
with the Federalist party after he was in
Gary Ryan Blair can be reached for speaking, coaching, and media requests at 877-462-5748 or by sending an e-mail.
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