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Presentation by Eric Miller, Blinn College, Bryan, Texas. Chapter 7 Political Participation and Voting: Expressing the Popular Will.

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation by Eric Miller, Blinn College, Bryan, Texas. Chapter 7 Political Participation and Voting: Expressing the Popular Will."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presentation by Eric Miller, Blinn College, Bryan, Texas. Chapter 7 Political Participation and Voting: Expressing the Popular Will

2 Walter Lippmann We are concerned in public affairs, but immersed in our private ones.

3 Voter Participation Essential component of the ideal of self- government Elections are a means by which… People control the government Government controls the people Elections are the only form of participation that involves a majority of citizens (in most countries)

4 Voter Participation Suffrage- right to vote, has expanded over time White property owning males 15 th Amendment (1870)- ended race as a barrier 19 th Amendment (1920)- ended sex as a barrier 24 th Amendment (1964)- no poll-tax 26 th Amendment (1971)- ended age as a barrier Disenfranchisement- literacy tests, citizen tests, whites-only primary elections Voting Rights Act of 1965 “Motor Voter Law” 1993 Linked voter registration to vehicle registration Made it easier to register to vote

5 Voter Participation Factors in Voter Turnout: The United States in Comparative Perspective Registration Requirements Places a burden on the individual Voter ID Laws- disenfranchisement? Voter ID cards serve to depress voter turnout Georgia photo ID/voter identification card law Federal judge struck down monetary requirement Supreme Court upheld Indiana voter ID card requirement

6 Should Voters be Required to Carry a Government-Issued Photo ID? Pro: Voting fraud is widespread and detrimental All citizens will be assisted in getting IDs Con: Poor, elderly, and minorities will be disenfranchised Little documentation of voter fraud

7 Voter Participation Factors in Voter Turnout: The United States in Comparative Perspective Frequency of Elections Elections at many levels of government frequent and staggered State and local hold elections in off-years to insulate their races from possible effects of presidential campaigns Primary Elections Reduces voter turnout Increases amount of personal effort needed to participate Americans asked to vote two or three times as often as Europeans Party Differences No sharp differences between major parties Overlapping policies

8 Voter Participation Why Some Americans Vote and Others Do Not Civic Attitudes Civic Duty regular voters have a strong sense of civic duty Apathy People just don’t care enough to vote Alienation People feel powerless Age Younger people vote the least Older people vote the most Education More education = more likely to participate Income Political participation is dominated by the middle-class Hispanic and African Americans have had a relatively low turnout for POTUS elections

9 Voter turnout for men and women are somewhat similar Education level and income are bigger factors in participation Voter Turnout and Level of Income, 2008 Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections,

10 Voter Participation The Impact of the Vote Elections do not normally produce a “mandate” Prospective Voting Based on knowledge of candidates’ positions Retrospective Voting Based on past performance Economic conditions usually play a factor, with some consideration of foreign policy issues

11 Voter Participation Presidential elections draw the most voters Presidential debates Nixon-Kennedy- 60% of households w/ TV Audiences have declined significantly since 1960 Americans get most of their news from TV Passive participation People who follow the news are generally more informed about politics than those who do not “the Fox anomaly” Older people follow the news more closely than younger people

12 America’s Major News Sources

13 Conventional Forms of Participation Other Than Voting Campaign Activities Lobbying Group Activities Following Politics in the Media Virtual Participation Political campaigns and citizen mobilization Democratizing effects but also political polarization Community Activities Decline in social capital? The sum of face-to-face interactions among citizens in a society

14 Online Campaign Activities

15 Campaign Activity

16 Unconventional Activism: Social Movements and Protest Politics Social movements- a broad effort to achieve change A way for those who are dissatisfied with gov. to get its attention More dramatic than conventional means Politically weak can force gov. to be more responsive Protests go back to the Boston Tea Party. Protests are often calculated acts usually involving younger citizens rather than older ones Political protests more planned today than in the past Protest movements seldom gain broad public support. Political protests less common today, and low public support for protesters But protests are often tolerated.

17 Protest Activity

18 Participation and the Potential for Influence Most citizens take little interest in participation, except for voting Class bias: public versus private Political = public (i.e. voting) Economic = private (i.e. health insurance) Low participation rates of lower- income people Participation rates parallel private influence Americans are less likely to vote than Europeans but more likely to donate money or time to promote community causes and work in political campaigns

19 States in the Nation


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