Amendments to the U.S. Constitution governing voting practices and procedures:

http://www.archives.gov/national_archives_experience/charters/constitution_amendments_11-27.html

  • Amendment XII Manner of Choosing President and Vice-president
  • Amendment XV Race no bar to voting rights
  • Amendment XVII United States Senators to be elected by direct popular vote
  • Amendment XIX Giving nationwide suffrage to women
  • Amendment XXIII Presidential vote for District of Columbia
  • Amendment XXIV Barring poll tax in federal elections
  • Amendment XXVI Lowering voting age to 18

Commission on Presidential Debates: A bi-partisan commission (a commission with members from both the Democratic and Republican parties) that has sponsored presidential debates since the League of Women Voters withdrew its sponsorship in 1988. See www.debates.org.

Communications subcommittee: A subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee that creates legislation governing U.S. broadcasting. Republican Senator Conrad Burns, Montana, is currently the subcommittee chairman.
See www.senate.gov/~commerce/subcmte.htm#Comm

The jurisdiction of the subcommittee includes:

  • Federal Communications Commission
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Communications Satellite Corporation
  • Telecommunications Industry Economics
  • Telecommunications Law
  • Spectrum Allocation

CPB - Corporation for Public Broadcasting: A group of government-funded broadcasting organizations, including PBS and National Public Radio, which were established under the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 to enhance non-commercial television programming. See www.cpb.org.

Electoral College: (Essay courtesy of the Federal Election Commision).

FCC - Federal Communications Commission: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent United States government agency, directly responsible to Congress. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC's jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions. See www.fcc.gov.

FEC - Federal Election Commission: In 1975, Congress created the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) - the statute that governs the financing of federal elections. The duties of the FEC, which is an independent regulatory agency, are to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law such as the limits and prohibitions on contributions, and to oversee the public funding of presidential elections.
See www.fec.gov.

League of Women Voters According to their mission statement, "The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy." The LWV was founded in 1920, the same year in which women gained the right to vote. The LWV sponsored the presidential debates of 1976, 1980, and 1984.
See www.lwv.org.

Participatory Democracy: A democratic system of government that relies on the informed participation of its citizens to function effectively. The United States is considered a model of participatory democracy because U.S. citizens elect their legislative and executive leaders. Theoretically, participatory democracy best works when citizens are well informed about the issues, the candidates, and the electoral process.

Section 315: "Equal time" section of the Federal Communications Act of 1934 that guarantees free and equal broadcast time to opposing political candidates when such time is made available to a single candidate. See interview with Newton Minow.

Section 326: "Free speech" section of the Federal Communications Act of 1934 that prohibits censorship by the FCC.