AP US Government : Election Laws

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US Government

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Election Laws

If neither presidential candidate in a general election receives the necessary number of votes in the electoral college, then the new president is selected by

Possible Answers:

State Legislatures

The House of Representatives

The Senate

The Supreme Court

The Popular Vote

Correct answer:

The House of Representatives

Explanation:

In the event that none of the candidates receive the necessary number of votes in the presidential election, the president is selected by the House of Representatives and the Vice President is selected by the Senate.  This process was established by the 12th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Example Question #1 : Election Laws

Members of the United States Senate are elected to terms which last

Possible Answers:

six years.

four years.

three years.

five years.

two years.

Correct answer:

six years.

Explanation:

According to Article I, Section 3 of the United States Constitution, each state shall have two Senators, with each Senator serving a term of six years. All senators are divided as equally as possible into three "classes," which have a staggered system of when each term ends. Thus, roughly one third of all senators are up for election every two years.

Example Question #3 : Election Laws

A poll watcher is tasked with __________.

Possible Answers:

ensuring that the election process is fair and involves no chicanery

projecting the results of a campaign in the months leading up to an election

ensuring that campaign finances are kept within legal limits

determining the results of exit polls for the media

counting the votes manually in the event of a miscount or misconduct in the electoral proceedings

Correct answer:

ensuring that the election process is fair and involves no chicanery

Explanation:

The primary responsibility of a poll watcher is to ensure that the election process is fair, honest, and involves no attempts at trickery or manipulation of the voting. Poll watchers are vital part of a fair and open modern democracy because they prevent chicanery.

Example Question #2 : Election Laws

How old do you have to be to serve office in the House of Representatives and in the Senate?

Possible Answers:

Thirty-five in the Senate; forty in the House.

Twenty-five in the House; thirty in the Senate.

Twenty-five in the Senate; thirty in the House.

Thirty in the House; thirty-five in the Senate.

Twenty-three in the House; thirty-five in the Senate.

Correct answer:

Twenty-five in the House; thirty in the Senate.

Explanation:

Because the Senate is considered the senior government body in the legislature, it makes sense that you would have to be older to serve in the Senate than in the House. The correct answer is that you have to be at least twenty-five to serve in the House and thirty to serve in the Senate. Most members are usually significantly older than this minimum threshold.

Example Question #5 : Election Laws

How many electoral votes are needed for a candidate to earn an absolute majority in the Electoral College and be elected President of the United States?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

To earn an absolute majority and be elected President of the United States, a candidate needs  out of an available  electoral votes.

Example Question #6 : Election Laws

Which position requires that the holder be a natural born citizen of the United States of America?

Possible Answers:

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

President

Speaker of the House

Secretary of State

Correct answer:

President

Explanation:

A person must be a natural born citizen in order to be eligible to be president. This means that either the person was born within the United States or was born in a foreign country and had at least one parent with American citizenship. None of the other offices require that the holder be a natural born citizen, and if a member of the Cabinet is not a natural born citizen then that person is skipped on the presidential line of succession.

Example Question #3 : Election Laws

Which office can a candidate run for even if the candidate does not live within that district?

Possible Answers:

National Postal Advisory Board Member

U.S. Senate

Federal Election Commission District Representative

U.S. Representative

Correct answer:

U.S. Representative

Explanation:

The only requirements to run for the office of U.S. Representative are that one must be at least 25 years old, have been an American citizen for at least 7 years, and reside in the state that the district is in. There is no actual requirement that a candidate has to live in the district that the candidate is trying to represent, only that the candidate live within the same state. Candidates for Senate do actually have to live in the state that they want to represent.

Example Question #8 : Election Laws

Which of the following was not one of the historic party-convention-reforming outcomes of the 1968 McGovern-Fraser Commission?

Possible Answers:

Party conventions became more open to mass public influence and more equitable in representation

States were required to select delegates based on either the primary or caucus methods

Convention delegates were no longer allowed to be chosen in secrecy

Party leadership was no longer allowed exist and was entirely dismantled

Correct answer:

Party leadership was no longer allowed exist and was entirely dismantled

Explanation:

While the Commission introduced many sweeping reforms to the political party convention system, the leaders of each of the two main parties were allowed to remain in power, so long as they agreed to cooperate with the Commission’s new restrictions. These reforms forced party leaders to make their appointments of convention delegates a matter of public record, with the entire process done with greater transparency. Party conventions underwent a similar overhaul, with new rules preventing the exclusion of minorities from the leadership and delegate levels. The states were also affected – each state was required to alter its delegate selection process so that all participants were able to be included.

Example Question #9 : Election Laws

Which of the following is not a currently legally allowable method of campaign financing?

Possible Answers:

Political Action Committees

Soft money

Correct answer:

Soft money

Explanation:

In 2002, soft money (money set aside for campaigns at the grass-roots level by party members) was ruled as an illegal source of campaign contributions by the McCain-Feingold Act. Soft money is seen as unacceptable because these funds are generically collected by political parties, with no clear designated spending purpose, and so were often used as unregulated “donations” to candidates. 527 groups were declared legal by the Federal Election Commission in 2004, while 501(c) groups were established in 2010. Political action committees (aka PACs) have been legally allowed since 1974 and have experienced vast increases in popularity and usage since 2008.

Example Question #10 : Election Laws

Which of the following is not one of the outcomes of the 1974 Federal Election Campaign Act?

Possible Answers:

Full disclosure of campaign expenditures to the Federal Election Commission became mandatory for all candidates

Strict limitations were placed on individual monetary contributions to both presidential and congressional campaigns

Candidates were banned from accepting donations from any large corporations or union sponsorships

Partial public financing and matching funds were provided for presidential primaries

Correct answer:

Candidates were banned from accepting donations from any large corporations or union sponsorships

Explanation:

While the FEC Act was intended to reduce corrupting influences within the campaign finance system, candidates are still permitted to accept funds from any large companies or unions, so long as these donations remain at or below the prescribed contribution threshold (which adjusted along with inflation). Similarly, candidates are also permitted to accept funds from private individuals, so long as these funds, too, fit within the threshold, and all donations must be reported back to the Federal Election Commission. In addition, the Act established a mechanism to provide partial funding and matching contributions to qualified candidates.

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