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Political Participation


Political Participation AP ... Neighborhood Associations Cultural Groups Unions Religious Groups Seniors Youth Groups ... a slow extinction from apathy, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Political Participation

Political Participation
  • AP Government
  • Unit 5

What is considered political participation?
  • Acts aimed at influencing policy, including
  • voting
  • protesting
  • letter-writing
  • volunteering for a party or interest group

  • Most common form of participation
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  • Least common form of participation

  • Most common form of participation
  • Voting
  • Affiliated w/ Political Organization
  • 3. Contacting a public official
  • 4. Attend meetings of organizations
  • 5. Campaign contributions
  • 6. Informal community activity
  • 7. Attend local board meeting
  • 8. Campaign work
  • 9. Protest
  • 10. Board membership
  • Least common form of participation

All Forms of Political Participation
Why DONT Americans VOTE?
  • Because elections are not close and its not
  • 19th Century Example
  • Between 1860 and 1900 strong energetic parties
    with sharp differences that made elections
    exciting and close.
  • However, after 1896, when the South was one-party
    democratic and the North Republican, the
    lop-sided Republican victories made politics
    uninteresting and party leaders did not want
    mass-mobilization machines.

Why DONT Americans VOTE?
  • There are four remaining explanations
  • The population has a greater percentage of young
    people and minorities who are less likely to
  • Political parties do not mobilize voters they
    are distant national bureaucracies.
  • Some states still do not have easy universal
    voter registration.
  • Voting itself still requires effort (cost)
    without any cost for nonvoting.

SoWho DOES Vote?
  • Any hypotheses out there???
  • You need 10!

SoWho DOES Vote?
  • Income
  • People with higher incomes have a higher tendency
    to vote.
  • Age
  • Older people tend to vote more often than younger
    people (less than half of eligible 18-24 year
    olds are registered to vote).
  • Gender
  • Since 1980, women have a higher tendency to vote
    for Democrats than Republicans.
  • Race
  • In general, whites tend to vote more regularly
    than African-Americans (this may be due to income
    and education not race).

The youngest voters have the lowest participation
in presidential elections
Source Current Population Survey (CPS),
November Supplement, calculated using CIRCLE
SoWho DOES Vote?
  • Education
  • The higher the level the higher the participation
  • Parental participation
  • If your parents vote, you will likely vote
  • Occupation
  • White collar professionals vote more than blue
    collar workers/laborers
  • Religion
  • Those who attend church vote more often
  • Exposure to media
  • Those who read and watch the news vote more often

SoWho DOES Vote?
  • 10. People who are affiliated with certain
  • What do they do??
  • Attend meetings
  • Give money
  • Take political stand

Political Parties Civic Clubs Charitable
Groups Business Groups Educational Groups Hobby
Groups Neighborhood Associations Cultural
Groups Unions Religious Groups Seniors Youth
Historically, Who Voted and When??
  • Who was the first group of Americans to have the
    right to vote?
  • Do you know when other groups were added to the

The Voting Rights Amendments
  • African American males-
  • The 15th Amendment extended voting rights to
    African-Americans in 1870
  • Because of intimidation and Jim Crow laws, it
    took many years and many struggles to overcome
    legal strategies such as literacy test, poll
    taxes, and grandfather clauses.
  • These efforts did not bear fruit until the 1965
    Voting Rights Act increased federal supervision
    and criminal penalties
  • Women
  • Women received the vote nationwide in 1920 after
    the 19th Amendment was ratified and immediately
    voted in large numbers without intimidation.
  • However, there was no immediate change in
    elections or election results or policy changes
  • Residents of DC
  • 23rd Amendment ratified in 1963
  • Poll Tax
  • Not removed until 1964
  • 24th Amendment
  • 18-19-20-year-olds
  • The 26th Amendment was ratified in 1971,
    extending the franchise
  • This did not have any noticeable effect on

FactAmericans are less likely to vote than are
  • Why????

FactAmericans are less likely to vote than are
  • Why?
  • 1. Too many offices to fill
  • The United States has an almost bewildering
    number of elective offices, an estimated 521,000
  • Voters' enthusiasm for elections is surely
    deflated by the sheer volume of names with which
    them must familiarize themselves.
  • In Europe, in contrast, each voter generally is
    confronted with only one or two offices to fill
    per election, so that electoral decisions do not
    impose a burden upon the voter.
  • Even in Europe, however, voter apathy increases
    with the number of elections.

It seems too much democracy, in terms of either
selecting government offices or making policy, is
FactAmericans are less likely to vote than are
  • Why?
  • 2. Voting procedures are not mandatory
  • It is common in other countries for voting to be
    compulsory by law and for registration to be
    carried out automatically by the government.

Mandatory voting would probably fail to survive a
constitutional challenge in this country on First
Amendment grounds just as people have a right
not to speak (like refusing to salute the flag),
it would seem to follow that they have a right to
refrain from voting-a form of speech-as well.
FactAmericans are less likely to vote than are
  • Why?
  • 3. Voting procedures are too complicated
  • Americans must register BEFORE Election Day in
    most states
  • Americans must re-register every time they move
  • Americans must notify election boards if they
    move within a state

The Motor-Voter Act is a federal law that
mandates that all states offer to register all
citizens over 18 when they get or renew their
drivers license.
FactAmericans are more likely to participate in
other ways than are Europeans.
  • Although American voter turnout has decreased
    over the past twenty years, it seems that other
    forms of participation, such as writing letters
    to public officials and engaging in
    demonstrations, have increased.
  • Compared to citizens of other democracies,
    Americans vote less but engage more in other
    forms of political participation.

Lack of Civic Understanding John S. and James L.
Knight Foundation Survey 112,003 high school
students in 2004
  • On 1998 National Civics Tests (NAEP)
  • Only 23 of 4th graders were proficient
  • Only 23 of 8th graders were proficient
  • Only 26 of 12th graders were proficient
  • 36 believed that newspapers should get
    government approval of stories before
  • Less than 50 of 15-26 years old think that
    communicating with elected officials,
    volunteering, or donating money to help others
    are qualities of a good citizen

Decline in Political Participation
The youngest generation of voters has the
greatest distrust of others
Source The Civic and Political Health of the
Nation, A Generational Portrait, 2002.
The death of democracy is not likely to be an
assassination from ambush. It will be a slow
extinction from apathy, indifference and
undernourishment.  Robert Hutchins
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