Texas Politics - Voting, Campaigns, and Elections
  1. Republican Dominance
  2. Looking Ahead
Types of Elections in Texas
  1. Getting on the Ballot
  2. Winning Public Office
Voting Requirements, Patterns
  1. Requirements
  2. Patterns
Voting and Non-voting
  1. Making a Difference?
  2. Why People Vote
Barriers to Voting
  1. Decision-making
  2. Information/Transaction Costs
  3. Historical Barriers
Two Parties and Voter Turnout
  1. Development
  2. Voters
Political Campaigns
  1. Rising Campaign Costs
  2. Regulating Contributions
  3. Impact of Money in Elections
Polling and Campaigns
Mobilization and Campaigns
  1. Endorsements
  2. Advertising
  3. Events and Speeches
  4. Grassroots Mobilization
10  Conclusion
  1. Print-friendly format
  2. Key words and phrases
  3. Multimedia resources
Texans voting
2004 election: Texans voted in record numbers
1.    Introduction

As each election for public office nears, the mass media reminds us that elections are both highly-charged symbolic rituals of democracy and key procedural components of our political institutions. Both aspects of elections – symbolic and procedural – serve critical functions at all levels of our political system.

Given the importance of elections, it's not surprising that they are also a major focus of collective fretting and extensive analysis and commentary. Why don't more people vote? Why do they vote the way they do? Why are campaigns so expensive and so negative? Why is the media so obsessed with polls?

In Texas, concerns about voting and elections are colored by political changes in recent decades (discussed at length in the Texas Politics chapter on Political Parties). Texans display many of the same basic tendencies of voting and non-voting as other Americans. Yet, the contests and characters on display in the 2004 campaign provided ample illustration of the particular forces at work in the Texas electoral universe. These include the still growing dominance of the Republican Party, battles over congressional redistricting, intense and sometimes bitter campaigning among candidates, increasingly expensive campaigning up and down the ballot, continuing courtship of the growing Latino population, and more.

Texas Politics:
© 2006, Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services
University of Texas at Austin