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The Election Commission appoints a large number of Observers to ensure that the campaign is conducted fairly, and that people are free to vote as they choose. Election expenditure Observers keeps a check on the amount that each candidate and party spends on the election.
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Election laws regulate who votes, when and how they vote, for whom they can vote, how campaigns are conducted, and how votes are recorded, counted, and allocated. The Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1870) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, and the Nineteenth (1920), on the basis of gender. Congress has set uniform dates for congressional, senatorial, and presidential elections, and it requires all members of Congress to be elected from contiguous, single-member districts. In three major federal laws, the Tillman Act (1907), the Federal Election Campaign Act (1971, 1974), and the McCain-Feingold Act (2002), Congress sought to reduce fraud and curb the influence of rich interest groups. Loopholes in these laws, often created or widened by court decisions, have diminished their effectiveness. By contrast, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, inspired by the Civil Rights Movement and pushed through Congress by President Lyndon Johnson, quickly eliminated remaining racial discrimination in voting qualifications and gradually reduced discrimination in electoral practices such as redistricting. Decisions of the Supreme Court in the 1990s, however, severely undercut the Act and threatened its constitutionality. But most elections take place at the state and local levels, and most election laws are passed by state and local governments. Americans elect more officials at more different times, in more overlapping districts, and with more complicated ballots than citizens of any other country. For a century, most municipal officials have run in nonpartisan contests held at different times than national elections to draw attention to local issues. States and municipalities regulate campaign finances with widely varying expenditure and contribution limits and publicity requirements, and some provide public subsidies to campaigns. Parties choose candidates in conventions or in closed primaries, where only registered party members may vote, or open primaries, where any citizen can choose a party’s nominees. 
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