13.1 Trace the roots of American elections, and distinguish among the four different types of elections

Elections are the source behind many political changes in the US. It gives the citizens a voice in political decisions and who is chosen to represent them. Elections are also used to confirm popular sovereignty. Popular sovereignty is when US citizens give the government permission to rule them, but can still control who is in office. An example of popular sovereignty is in the 10th Amendment of the Bill of Rights because it reads, ¨The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."In this case, the people consent to give any unclaimed powers to the control of the States. Only electorate citizens are able to vote in elections. Non-electorate citizens can include people living in the US who are not official citizens.

The two stages of the electoral process are the primary and general elections. In primary elections, voters are able to decide which running candidates within a political party will represent the party in general election. For example, in the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney was the candidate who won the Republican primary and Barrack Obama won the Democratic primary; therefore, both of them proceeded to the general elections. There are also two types of primaries: open and closed. In open primaries, independents and other party members can cast a ballot. However, closed primaries limit their voters to the party's own registered voter. Closed primaries are sometimes preferred because they do not consider opposing views.

General elections are the nest step of the election process. These are held by the state and determine which candidates will take public office. An example would be the final presidential race between Obama and Romney for office.

Initiatives are another way of voicing voter's opinions because it gives them the opportunity to propose their own original laws or amendments. These proposed acts of legislation can be voted on if their petition receives enough signatures.

Another type of election is called a referendum and is based on the state legislature proposing new ideas rather then citizens in an initiative.

The final type of elections is a recall. In a recall election, voters decide whether to remove a political official from office. However, these officials are incumbents who are often impeached or resign before the recall happens. For example, President Richard Nixon was going to be recalled for his involvement in the Watergate scandal so he resigned from office before it could happen.

13.6 Explain why voter turnout is low, and evaluate methods for improving voter turnout.

Voters will not turnout on voting days for a variety of reasons with one example being schedule conflicts. If a voter is ill or working at the time is taking place they are unable to vote. Some citizens have difficulty with registering to vote because they lack the desire or motivation. Another example of citizens having difficulty with voting is if they are away from their home during the time. Absentee ballots can be a hassle to voters and decrease their likelihood of voting. Also, having too many elections can tire out voters and make them less motivated to go vote. A common example could be that some voters just are not very interested in politics nor a passionate about a specific party or candidate. However, there are ways to improve voter turnout. Making election days a holidays would decrease scheduling conflicts. Making voting more accessible would help; for example, enabling online or mail in voting or making registration and ballots more understandable.