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Aim: What effect has expansion of voting rights had on voter participation?

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Presentation on theme: "Aim: What effect has expansion of voting rights had on voter participation?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Aim: What effect has expansion of voting rights had on voter participation?

2 I. Nonvoting A.About only half of Americans vote B.The U.S. is ranked near the bottom in comparison to other democratic nations in voter turnout 1.If one counts only registered voters in the U.S., we are in the middle 2.A low percentage of Americans are registered to vote

3 II. Voting Rights A.In the early Republic, only white, male, citizens, over the age of 21, who were property holders could vote

4 a.Property requirements were eliminated during the Jacksonian Era –Americans voted directly only for members of the House b.15th Amendment (1870): Expanded voting rights to include African American males c.1. African Americans were still excluded through the use of: d.Poll Tax: a requirement that citizens had to pay a tax in order to register to vote e.Literacy Test: a requirement that citizens show that they can read before registering to vote f.White Primary: practice of keeping blacks from voting in Southern state primaries through arbitrary use of registration requirements and intimidation g.Grandfather Clause: allowed people to vote who did not meet registration requirements to bypass the literacy test and poll tax if their grandfathers had voted prior to 1867 (whites )

5 C. 17 th Amendment (1913): Provided for direct election of senators - Previously Senators were elected by state legislatures D. 19 th Amendment (1920): Granted women the right to vote E. Native American Citizenship Act (1924): Granted Native Americans citizenship and the right to vote. 1. some states continued to restrict Native American voting rights until 1957 F. 24 th Amendment (1964): Ended the use of poll taxes. G. Voting Rights Act (1965): Ended the Use of Literacy Tests H. Voting Rights Act (1970): Extended the ban on literacy tests for five years (renewed in 1975, 1982, and 2006). Granted 18 year olds the right to vote in Federal Elections. I. 26 th Amendment (1971): Granted voting rights to 18 year old citizens.

6 Questions: 1.Based on what we have seen, explain the meaning of this statement: “Democracy is a process.” 2.What do you see for the future of voting rights in this country? Should or could these rights be expanded further, should they remain the same, or should they be restricted? Explain.

7 In the past… Voting rates in the 19 th Century were 70- 80% Why???

8 Possible Reasons People voted more in the past: Parties were better at mobilizing people Parties had stricter divisions and people were more loyal to their parties Voter Fraud: Parties printed ballots, people voted more than once, ballot boxes were stuffed, party bosses controlled vote counting

9 Australian Ballot: A uniform, secret ballot that limited fraud in elections

10 Today: Only about half of Americans who are eligible vote. About 22% are Inactive: low education, low income, relatively young Activists: 11% of the population. High education, high income, middle aged. – also called Political Elites Voting Specialists: Vote, but do little else. Campaigners: vote and get involved in campaign activities: Better educated than the average voter, and take pleasure in being involved in the political world Communalists: Similar to campaigners, but do not like the competitive world of politics. Tend to focus on community issues that are nonpartisan. Parochial Participants: Stay out of campaigns, and do not vote, but may contact officials regarding personal problems.

11 Possible Reasons for Nonvoting: 1.Youthfulness of population with growing numbers of minorities 2.Parties less effective in mobilizing people 3.Difficulties registering 4.Not voting is costless 5.Negative view of the importance of elections and the importance of a single vote – low political efficacy

12 Other reasons for low turnout Difficulty of Absentee Voting Number of Offices to Elect too high Weekday, non-holiday voting Weak political parties – less “get-out-the- vote campaigns

13 Many are unable to vote 10 million are resident aliens 5-6 million are ill or physically unable to vote 2-3 million traveling suddenly 500,000 mentally ill 1 million in prison 100,000 don’t vote for religious reasons

14 Internal Efficacy – the ability to understand and take part in political affairs External Efficacy – the ability to make the system respond to the citizenry. Political efficacy has declined steadily since the 1960s. Why???

15 I. Registering A.the burden to register to vote falls on the people 1. Process is a hassle B. Motor-Voter Bill (1993) – states must allow voter registration when applying for driver’s licenses and provide registration through the mail. –Encouraged more registration

16 II. Participation In what other ways can people participate? A.joining civic associations, supporting social movements, writing to legislators, and fighting city hall 1. The level of participation of Americans in these activities is quite high

17 Does our high rate of nonvoters mean that people are apathetic toward politics? III. Nonvoting: A.Some say that low voter turnout means that people are satisfied with the current condition of society B.Politics is not the primary concern of most Americans, school, religion, family, etc. 2.Many misreport their voting record (saying they have when they haven’t)

18 Who REALLY participates? Different factors can tell us who votes Education – MOST IMPORTANT, more education=more voting Religious involvement Race and Ethnicity – Whites higher than minorities Age – 18-24 is the lowest, and 45 and up is the highest

19 Who REALLY participates? Gender – men traditionally voted more, now it is more equal Two-party competition – more competitive elections have higher turnout Cross-cutting cleavages – individuals influenced by many factors, it is important when testing for this that variables are controlled

20 C. About 1/5 of Americans seem to be completely inactive 1. About 1/9 are activists 2. Higher levels of education and religiosity is correlated with voting 3. if income and schooling are the same, black people vote more than white people

21 How ideological are Americans? 1950 study – “The American Voter” 4 basic types of voter 1.Ideologues – 12% of people connect their opinions to party lines 2.Group Benefits Voter – 42% of people connect their opinion to their “group”. (labor union, interest group, class, race)

22 How ideological are Americans? 3. Nature of the times voter – 24% of the people linked good or bad times to the party in control and vote the opposite (usually based on economics). 4. No Issue Content – 22% of the people could give no reason

23 Negative impact of low voter turnout: –Many social groups are underrepresented.






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