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Title:

Political Participation:

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How do participation levels of Americans compare with citizens of other nations? ... Initially, suffrage changes resulted in increased participation ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Political Participation:


1
Political Participation
  • Voting and Non-voting Participation in the United
    States

2
Political Participation
  • Do Americans participate in government?
  • What are the trends?
  • What explains levels of participation in the
    U.S.?
  • How do participation levels of Americans compare
    with citizens of other nations?
  • What can explain the differences?
  • What do those who participate look like?
  • Demographic factors and turnout
  • Should Americans participate? Does participation
    matter?

3
Political Participation
  • Two Types of Political Participation
  • Conventional Participation
  • Voting
  • Letter writing
  • Contact with Representatives
  • Working on Campaigns
  • Campaign Contributions
  • Joining Groups (social capital)
  • Running for Office
  • Unconventional Participation
  • Boycotts, Sit-ins, Marches, Demonstrations,
    Violence

4
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5
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6
Expanding Suffrage
  • Constitutional Amendments
  • 15 (1870) Race
  • 19 (1920) Sex
  • 23 (1961) Residents of DC can vote for
    President but not Congress
  • 24 (1964) Poll tax
  • 26 (1971) 18 years old, changes from 21

7
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8
Voting Trends
  • Initially, suffrage changes resulted in increased
    participation
  • Recently, voter turnout steadily on the decline
    the vanishing electorate
  • High of around 60 in Presidential elections --
    50 in midterm -- even lower in local elections

9
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10
Various Explanations for Limited Participation
  • Why Americans Still Dont Vote
  • Voter Registration
  • Not automatic
  • Requires foresight
  • Residency requirements
  • Mobile Electorate
  • Voting Percentage of Registered Voters rivals the
    voter turnout in other countries
  • Motor-Voter Legislation

11
Various Explanations for Limited Participation
  • There are too many elections in the United States
  • High information costs
  • Election Day (Tuesday, work day)
  • Voter apathy
  • People believe they gain few personal benefits to
    themselves from voting

12
Various Explanations for Limited Participation
  • Political parties are weaker
  • Opportunity costs
  • Generational Change
  • Civic duty has declined
  • Irrational to vote
  • Very little chance of affecting the outcome of an
    election
  • Weather

13
Demographic Factors and Voter Turnout Graph
  • 2000 Election Exit Polls
  • http//www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2000/epolls/US/P000.ht
    ml

14
Increasing Voter Turnout
  • How could we increase voter turnout?
  • Should we increase voter turnout?

15
Three Puzzles About American Turnout
  • Why is turnout in national elections lower than
    most other democracies?
  • Institutional factors
  • Why has turnout in the U.S. declined since 1960?
  • What caused turnout to go up slightly in 1992?
    And go back down in 1996?
  • Education levels have been rising
  • Registration has become much easier
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