Presentation on theme: "Political Participation Chapter 6. Reason for Nonvoting Based on registered voters with eligible adult population, America has a low turnout compare."— Presentation transcript:
Reason for Nonvoting Based on registered voters with eligible adult population, America has a low turnout compare to Europe. Common explanation: apathy on election day, but the real problem is low registration rates Some blame it on voter apathy, but the majority of those who are registered do vote. The problem is the large number of unregistered voters. In America there is a cost to register, while in Europe it is free and done for you. Motor-voter law of 1993, increase registration among eligible voters ; however, may have actually just added registrants who are less likely to vote.
State to Federal Control States initially decided nearly everything, leading to variation in federal elections Congress has since reduced state prerogatives House members elected by district in 1842 Suffrage to women (19 th amendment in 1920) Suffrage to blacks Suffrage to eighteen- to twenty-year-olds- 1971 Direct popular election of U.S. senators - 1913 Southern states use evasive strategies to prevent as many blacks from voting as possible. 1965 Voting Rights Act increases black vote significantly- suspend literacy tests, federal examiners to monitor elections, criminal charges. Voting Rights Act of 1970, followed by 26 th amendment (18 year olds right to vote)
Voter Turnout There are two theories about the decline in voter percentages. The first theory says the percentages are real, and the decline in popular interest in elections and competitiveness of the two parties has resulted in this decline in voting. The second theory says the percentages represent an apparent decline, which is caused by more honest ballot counts of today. (Australian ballot) Researchers see several reasons for some real decline. 1)Registration is more difficult with longer residency requirements 2) discrimination 3) voters had to register long in advance of the elections (minimum of 30 days prior to election)
Who Participates in Politics? Forms of participation Voting the most common form of participation (10% lie about voting) Verba and Nie's six types of participants Inactive - Rarely vote, do not get involved in organizations, and do not talk about politics Little education, low income, young (22% of all participants) Voting specialists- People who vote but do little else - not much education/income- older Campaigners - Vote and get involved in the campaign activities. They are very passionate about politics More education, identify with a party, take strong positions.
Verba & Nie (continued) Communalists - Similar to campaigners but do not like conflict and reserve energy for nonpartisan activities more involved with local issues. Parochial participants- Do not vote and stay out of campaigns but contact local officials about personal problems Complete activists- Tend to be highly educated and high income, and participate in all forms of politics usually middle-aged (11% of all people)
Who Participates in Politics? Causes of Participation Educated are more likely to vote Church-goers vote more Men and women vote same rate Black participation lower than whites overall unless socioeconomic status is equal As turnout declines, registration barriers have eased. (including same day registration) Small factors that decrease turnout Decreasing effectiveness of parties in mobilizing voters Remaining obstacles to register Ethnic minorities encounter language barriers Some feel that elections do not matter
The Meaning of Participation Rates Although Americans vote less, they do participate more than most countries Other forms of activity becoming more common, such as campaigning, contacting officials, and working on community issues Some forms more common here than in other countries, such as sit-ins and protest marches Americans elect more officials than Europeans do and have more elections There are 521,000 elective offices in America, and almost every week there is an election somewhere An American may have the chance to vote in over 25 elections, while in Europe they maybe vote once every four years; therefore, this may affect the Americans point of view on the importance of voting.
Factors that Make People Vote Personal characteristics are a major factor in motivating a person's decision to participate on election day. Education is the most critical variable. As their educational level increases, individuals develop a stronger sense of civic duty and a greater interest in, and knowledge of, politics. Voting rates continue to decline despite increase of college degrees in recent decades. Another characteristic that correlates with voting is age; older voters are more likely to participate. Something other than personal characteristics must play a role in election turnout, the election itself. Most recent elections have presented voters with uninspiring candidates who failed to stimulate interest or excitement. The lack of a realigning issue has made politics boring. Besides in 1964 (a sharp ideological choice between candidates, Johnson and extremist Goldwater) and 1992 (an economy in recession and the charismatic candidate H. Ross Perot). Voters participate when aroused to do so.