Chapter 10 Essay

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Terms | Definitions | legitimacy | A characterization of elections by political scientists meaning that they are almost universally accepted as a fair and free method of selecting political leaders. When it is high, as in the United States, even the losers accept the results peacefully. | referendum | A state-level method of direct legislation that gives voters a chance to approve or disapprove proposed legislation or a proposed constitutional amendment. | initiative petition | A process permitted in some states whereby voters may put proposed changes in the state constitution to a vote if sufficient signatures are obtained on petitions calling for such a referendum. | suffrage | The legal right to vote, extended to African Americans by the Fifteenth Amendment, to women by the Nineteenth Amendment, and to people over the age of 18 by the Twenty-sixth Amendment. | political efficacy | The belief that one's political participation really matters—that one's vote can actually make a difference. | civic duty | The belief that in order to support democratic government, a citizen should always vote. | voter registration | A system adopted by the states that requires voters to register well in advance of Election Day. A few states permit this on Election Day. | Motor Voter Act | Passed in 1993, this act went into effect for the 1996 election. It requires states to permit people to register to vote at the same time they apply for their driver's license. | mandate