2 ParticipationPolitical Participation The tendency is to look at participation as just voting in elections. However it refers to every way we take part in politics and government.Educating yourself on issuesHaving a reasoned debate over issuesJoining a political partyVotingGiving a candidate a donation for their campaign
3 Two Ways to Look at Voting Voting Age PopulationVoting Eligible ParticipationMeasuring the vote of all people who have reached the age of 18.Many people in this group are not eligible to vote (non-citizens, convicted felons)In 2012: 53.6% voter turnout based on VAP (Down 3.2% from 2008)Measuring the vote of all people who are legally allowed to vote.In 2012: 58.2% voter turnout based on VEP (Down 3.5% from 2008)
5 Why is U.S. Voter Turnout Low? Day of Voting- In the U.S. elections are held on Tuesdays. Other countries have weekend elections or voting holidays.Registration Process- In the U.S. voters have to send in their registration by mail. Other nations have an automatic process.Decrease in Trust in Government- Since 1970, our trust in government officials has decreased.Weakening of Political Parties- Less ability to mobilize votersBallot Fatigue- Due to federalism we have a lot of elections, so people tend to sit some of them out.
6 Attempts to Encourage Voting Early Voting, Absentee Voting, Mail-in VotingForty million registered voters failed to vote in recent electionsForty million voting-age citizens failed to register in either of the two electionsGet Out the Vote DrivesLimited impact. Door-to-door and phone calls were most effectiveIn 2008, 38% of voters say they were convinced to vote in this wayEasier Registration (Motor Voter Law, etc)Increased registration but not voter turnout by a significant factor
7 Rise of the American Electorate Under the Constitution states were able to establish who could vote and for what offices.Led to wide variations in Federal OfficesSome House members were elected by districtOthers elected in a state wide election
8 Evolution of Voting1971: 26th Amendment gives suffrage to all eighteen-year-olds. Turnout low and has fallen since.1842: All House Members must be elected by districts1920: 19th Amendment gives right to vote to women. Increased participation but no impact on results.1870: 15th Amendment gives right to vote to African Americans1965: Voting Rights Act guarantees the right to vote for African Americans
9 Evolution in VotingIn all cases it was the Federal Government stepping in and dictating to the states who was eligible to vote and how elections are to take place. This reflects the overall theme of Centralization of Government. More and more the Federal Government is exerting power in more areas.
10 Who Can Vote? Age: 18 years or older Citizenship Requirement Criminal Record: Most states bar felons from votingRegistration RequirementNot automaticResidency RequirementsRegistration must occur in advance of election
11 Voting PatternsWhen discussing voting patterns there are two fundamental questions to ask…Who is more likely to vote?Who is somebody more likely to vote for?
13 “Likely” Voters Older Voters High Income More Educated When income is taken into account African Americans and Whites vote at the same rate, which is a higher one than Latinos (although that doubled from 1996 to 2008)People who attend religious services
14 Voting BlocsParty Identification: People are more likely to vote for their partySocial Class: Not as powerful, but higher income tends to vote Republican, unskilled labor tends to vote DemocraticRace/Ethnicity: Blacks are most likely to vote Democratic, Hispanic are more likely to vote Democratic but not as reliable, White are slightly more likely to vote Republican, Asians are most likely to vote RepublicanNeighborhood: Urban residents are more likely to be Democrats. Rural resident are more likely to be Republicans.Education: The more years of school somebody has, the more likely they vote for Democrats
15 Political Participation Verba and Nie have categorized 6 forms of participation in U.S. citizensInactives: Rarely vote, give money, or discuss politics (little education, low income, young,22%)Voting Specialists: Vote but do little else (not much education or income, older)Campaigners: Vote and get involved in campaign activities. (More educated, more interested in politics, identify with a party, have strong positions)
16 Political Participation 4) Communalists: Nonpartisan community activists with a local focus. 5) Parochial Participants: Don’t vote or participate in campaigns but will contact politicians about specific problems 6) Activists: Participate in all forms of politics (highly educated, high income, middle aged; 11% of population)