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Locked Out? How the United States Limits Voter Participation Bill Winders School of History, Technology, & Society Georgia Tech.

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Presentation on theme: "Locked Out? How the United States Limits Voter Participation Bill Winders School of History, Technology, & Society Georgia Tech."— Presentation transcript:

1 Locked Out? How the United States Limits Voter Participation Bill Winders School of History, Technology, & Society Georgia Tech

2 Voting in a Democracy dēmos (people) + kratos (rule) Voter turnout and the health of a democracy

3 Voting in Our Democracy YearTurnout How many people voted in the 2004 presidential election? yr olds Georgia

4 Voting in Our Democracy At other levels of government, voter participation becomes even lower. Off-year congressional elections:  2006: 37% (Georgia = 31%)  2002: 37%  1998: 36% (Georgia = 31%)  1994: 39% More young voters in 2006 – How many?  24% of voters under the age of 30.

5 Why don’t Americans vote?

6 Explaining Turnout in the US 1. Individual Characteristics  Attributes of voters vs. non-voters 2. Political Institutions  The “shape” of political institutions.  Rules about voting, parties, representation, etc.

7 US Voter Turnout in Historical Perspective

8 Table 1. Average Turnout in Twenty- One Democracies, NationTurnoutNationTurnout Italy90Netherlands76 New Zealand86Norway76 Greece85Germany72 Belgium84United Kingdom72 Sweden84Finland71 Australia83Ireland71 Denmark83Russia70 Spain79France61 Portugal79Canada60 Austria78United States52 Switzerland38

9 Election Rules and Voter Turnout: in History Between 1896 and 1924, turnout fell dramatically. Rule changes:  Literacy tests, poll taxes, waiting periods,  *Personal registration system

10 Election Rules and Voter Turnout: Today Election Day Registration (EDR)  6 states in  Turnout in EDR states average about 14 percentage points higher than other states. State Turnout (2004) 1. Minnesota Wisconsin Maine New Hampshire Georgia50.5 US Average55.3

11 Election Rules and Voter Turnout: Today Georgia: Multiple Primaries  Presidential Primary (Feb. 5): 28%  General Primary (July 15): 12% Barriers to Voting:  Registration System, Numerous elections, Voter ID, felon disenfranchisement, etc.

12 Locked Out? Voting in a Democracy Whose voices are excluded from our democratic process? What does low voter turnout say about the “health” of our democracy? What does it say about the attitudes most people have toward the two major parties?


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