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Chapter 8 P. 177-196. Political participation. Ways of Participating Voter Turnout Motor-Voter. A Closer Look At Non-Voting. Ways of Participating. Voting Joining civic associations Supporting social movements Writing to legislator Fighting city hall

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ways of participating
Ways of Participating
  • Voting
  • Joining civic associations
  • Supporting social movements
  • Writing to legislator
  • Fighting city hall
  • Giving money to candidates and/or parties
  • Being a member of a political organization
  • Campaigning

P. 179

who votes
Who votes?
  • Ironic that so few vote when you consider that the
    • U.S. was the country where the great mass of people first became eligible to vote
  • Constitution
    • Vote
      • Limited to property owners and taxpayers
  • Jackson administration (1829-1837)
    • All white male suffrage
      • Property restrictions persisted in South
        • Virginia abolished them in 1852

P. 180

voting in u s
Voting in U.S.
  • < 60% of people vote in presidential election
  • Much smaller in congressional
  • Non-voting problem
    • Only ⅔ of voting age population is registered to vote
    • Burden for registration is on the individual
      • Learn how, when, where to register
      • Take time to do this
      • If move must re-register
  • Data is misleading compares
    • Turnout of the voting-age population
    • Turnout of registered voters reveals the problem is not so severe
  • Real problem is low voter registration rates

P. 178-179

voter turnout
Voter Turnout
  • Real decline caused by
    • Lessening popular interest
    • Decreasing party mobilization
    • Difficulty of registration
    • Fraud
      • Some scholars argue historical voter turnout figures were skewed by fraud
Two Methods


Calculating Turnout in Presidential Elections


motor voter 1993
Motor-Voter 1993
  • Required states to allow people to register to vote when applying for drivers’ licenses
  • Provided registration through
    • Mail
    • Some state offices
    • Online (Now) email
  • Took effect in1995
    • In two months
      • 630,000 new voters signed up in 27 states
    • 2001-2002
      • 16 million people representing 40 % of all voter applications registered in motor-vehicle offices
        • Still: Those who register when the process is costless are less likely to vote

P. 179

rise of the electorate
State to Federal Control

Constitutional Amendments

Voter Turnout

Rise of the Electorate
  • After the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Blacks and whites voted
  • together in a small Alabama town
control over who votes
Control over who votes
  • States initially decided
    • Who voted and for what offices
    • This led to wide variation in federal elections
  • Congress chooses day on which presidential electors gather
  • Article I in Constitution
    • House of Representatives only requirement for popular vote
  • Over time shifted from states to federal control
  • Congress has since reduced state prerogatives through
    • Law and constitutional amendments

P. 181

important changes in voting
Important Changes in Voting
  • Fifteenth Amendment 1870
    • Negro suffrage
  • Seventeenth Amendment 1913
    • Direct popular election of U.S. senators
  • Nineteenth Amendment 1920
    • Woman’s suffrage
  • Twenty-third Amendment 1961
    • DC vote
  • Twenty-sixth Amendment 1971
    • 18 year-old vote

P. 181

fifteenth amendment 1870
Fifteenth Amendment 1870
  • “…right of citizens to vote shall not be denied…by the United States or by any state on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.”
  • Supreme Court interpretation
    • Did not confer the right to vote to anybody


    • If someone was denied the right it could not be explicitly on grounds of race

P. 181

methods states used to deny blacks the vote
Methods states used to deny blacks the vote
  • Literacy test
    • Large portion of former slaves were illiterate
  • Poll tax
    • Former slaves were poor
  • Grandfather clause
    • Person could vote if his ancestors voted before 1867
    • 1915 unconstitutional
  • White primary
    • Only meaningful election in the one-party South was the Democratic primary
    • 1944 unconstitutional
  • Intimidation, threats, harassment

P. 181

people denied the vote
People denied the vote
  • Women
  • Blacks
  • Chinese-Americans
  • People in prison
  • Young people

P. 180-181

voting rights act 1965
Voting Rights Act 1965
  • Suspended use of literacy tests
  • Authorized appointment of federal examiners who could order registration of blacks where
    • < 50% of voting age population were registered
  • Provided criminal penalties for interfering with the right to vote


  • By 1975 registration of blacks in Mississippi rose from 5% to 70%

P. 182

voting rights act 1970
Voting Rights Act 1970
  • Gave 18 year-olds the right to vote in federal elections
  • Lowered the voting age to 18 in state elections
  • Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional
  • THUS
  • Twenty-sixth Amendment 1971
    • Lowered the voting age to 18
decline in voter turnout
Decline in Voter Turnout
  • 1860-1900
    • 70 percent of eligible population went to polls in every presidential election at least
  • Since 1900 not a single presidential election turnout has reached 70 percent
  • 1920 and 1924 did not reach even 50 percent
  • Since 1928
    • 50 percent to 60 percent of voting-age population went to the polls

P. 184

factors that decrease turnout
Factors That Decrease Turnout
  • More youths, blacks, and minorities
    • Push down the percentage of eligible adults who are registered and vote
  • Parties are less effective in mobilizing voters
  • Weakening of the competitiveness of the two major parties
  • Remaining impediments to registration have discouraging effects
  • Voting is not compulsory
  • Some potential voters may feel that elections do not matter
australian ballot
Australian ballot
  • 1890s introduced state by state
    • Printed
    • Uniform
    • Secret
  • By 1910 only three states without the Australian ballot
  • Replaced the old party ballot cast in public
  • Reduced vote buying and fraudulent vote counts

P. 185

Campaign to win the vote for women nationwide succeeded with the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.
six forms of participation
Six Forms of Participation
  • Inactive
  • Complete activists
  • Voting specialists
  • Campaigners
  • Communalists
  • Parochial participants

P. 188

forms of participation
Forms of participation
  • Inactive
    • Rarely votes
    • Not involved in organizations
    • Doesn’t talk politics
    • Little education, low income, young
    • 22% of population
  • Complete activist
    • Participates in all forms of politics
    • Highly educated, high income, middle-aged
    • 11% of the population

P. 188

forms of participation1
Forms of participation
  • Voting specialist
    • Votes but do little else
    • Not much education, nor income, older
  • Campaigner
    • Votes
    • Gets involved in campaign activities
    • Interest in politics
    • Better educated
    • Clear identification with a political party

P. 188

forms of participation2
Forms of participation
  • Communalist
    • Does not like conflict
    • Gets involved in community activities
    • Joins organizations that deal with local problem
  • Parochial participant
    • Does not vote
    • Stays out of elections and campaigns
    • Does not join civic organizations
    • Often contacts local officials about specific personal problems

P. 188

factors that shape participation rates
Factors that shape Participation Rates
  • Age
  • Race
  • Party organization
  • Barriers to registration
  • Popular views about the significance of elections
  • Having nothing to do with apathy
causes of participation
Causes of Participation
  • Higher
    • If go to college
    • If over 35 years
    • If religious participation
  • Men and women vote at same rate
  • Blacks participate more than Hispanics
  • People cynical about leaders just as likely to vote as those who are not
  • Americans
    • May vote less, but
    • Participate MORE
      • Write congressmen
      • Money to campaigns
      • Sit-ins
      • Marches
      • Demonstrations
  • Elect far more officials than any European country
    • @ 521,000 offices in USA
    • Almost every week there is an election somewhere in the U.S.

P. 188

predictors of participation
Predictors of Participation
  • Schooling or political information those with it are more likely to vote
  • Church-goersvote more, because church involvement develops the skills associated with political participation
  • Men and women vote at the same rate
  • Black participation
    • Lower than that of whites overall
    • Controlling for socioeconomic status
      • Participate at a higher rate than whites
  • Distrust of political leaders
    • Studies show no correlation between and distrust of leaders and not voting
voter turnout in u s
Voter Turnout in U.S.
  • Skewed toward higher-status
    • Professionals
    • Managers
    • White-collar occupations
  • Nonwhites and Latinos
    • Fastest growing segment of population
    • Most underrepresented group among voters
  • Blacks
    • Participate in voting and political activities at higher rates than do Latinos
    • More likely to be members of churches which stimulate political interest and mobilization

P. 193

requirements to vote
Requirements to Vote
  • 1970 federal law prohibited residency requirements longer than thirty days for presidential elections
      • Mail—registration by mail
        • By 1982 twenty-one states (about half the country’s population) and DC
    • Laws permitting voters to register by mail
  • Maine, Minnesota, Oregon and Wisconsin
    • Can register and vote on the SAME DAY
Electoral/Non-electoral Political Participation

Among Anglo Whites, African Americans, and Latinos

meaning of participation rates
Meaning of Participation Rates
  • Americans vote less
    • 1967-1987
      • Percentage of Americans who voted regularly in presidential and local elections dropped, but
  • Participate more in
    • Campaigns
    • Contacting government officials
    • Working on community issues

P. 192

meaning of participation rates1
Meaning of Participation Rates
  • Public demonstrations much more common in recent decades
    • 1950-1959
      • 6 demonstrations per year
    • 1960-1967
      • 140 demonstrations per year
  • Americans elect far more officials than any other nation
    • Americans vote at lower rates but more frequently and for many more offices than other countries
      • > Half a million elective offices in U.S.
      • Almost every week there is an election somewhere in the country
    • Elections make a bigger difference in the conduct of public affairs here than abroad