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Political Participation & the American Electorate

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Political Participation & the American Electorate. Chapter 8 Theme A. The Responsible Electorate. In the first section, pick 5 words you used and explain how they relate to the essay’s theme. Switch acrostic poems with a classmate.

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the responsible electorate
The Responsible Electorate
  • In the first section, pick 5 words you used and explain how they relate to the essay’s theme.
  • Switch acrostic poems with a classmate.
  • In the next section, explain how 5 of their words relate to the essay’s theme.
  • In the last section, weigh the quality of their words as to how well they relate to the overall theme of the essay. Weigh this in terms of excellent, very good, good, fair or poor.
perception of american political participation
Perception of American Political Participation
  • Why is voter turnout perceived low?
    • Apathetic
    • Don’t like change
    • Younger people don’t register or vote
    • Generally we are less involved in electoral process than the rest of world
    • Differences between parties not apparent
    • A few votes do not change outcomes
for the 2012 presidential election
For the 2012 Presidential Election
  • How democratic are we?
  • The census bureau estimates the US total population at 303.8 million. As of the 2010 the VAP was 226.1 million whereas the total VEP was 207.6 million.
  • 151.7 million were registered (73% of VEP)
  • 119.3 million went to the polls (53% of VAP vs. 79% of registered VEP)
registration woes
Registration Woes
  • Apathy is notthe problem, but registration of eligible voters is.
  • Solutions?
    • Make registration automatic
    • National Registration Law of 1993
      • AKA Motor-voter law
      • Allows registration at DMV, DSS, etc.
motor voter results
Motor-voter Results
  • Registration rates increased
  • Election day turnout less depressed in states that put it into effect or allowed same day registration
  • The two-party system balance was not affected, but more registered as independents
political disease or good health
Political Disease or Good Health?
  • Americans join civic groups, write letters, support social movements, etc. more than Europeans.
  • Lack of registration & voting might mean satisfaction with government.
  • Kinds of participation are more important than how much.
the responsible electorate1
The Responsible Electorate
  • What is the GIST of the piece?
  • Do you agree? Why or why not?
  • What impact do negative ads have on the electorate today?
  • What impact do polls have on the electorate today?
  • How do you view the electorate today compared to Key’s 1960 view?
rise of the american electorate
Theme B

A history of voting in America, pp. 187-192

Rise of the American electorate
voting amendments
Voting Amendments
  • 15th amendment
  • 17th amendment
  • 19th amendment
  • 23rd amendment
  • 24th amendment
  • 26th amendment
historical perspective of the american electorate
Historical Perspective of the American Electorate
  • African-Americans could not vote for the first 76 years of US History
  • Women did not have the right to vote for the first 131 years of US
  • It took 181 years for those 18-20 to get the right to vote
  • For the first 50 years of the US only white/male/property owners could vote
  • A. Jackson’s easing of property restrictions in the 1830s
  • Issue of Federalism? States initially set voter restrictions & qualifications, but the federal gov’t gradually took over through the 14th & 15th Amendments to the present where it has almost total control
  • 15th Amendment- right to vote not denied on account of race
  • The Supreme Court in 1870s decided that Amendment did not confer the right to vote; merely the denial could not be explicitly on ground of race
  • Problem...states set up literacy tests, poll taxes, and grandfather clauses
  • Solution…1965 Voting Rights Act & 24th Am.
alabama literacy test
Alabama Literacy Test
  • http://kpearson.project.tcnj.edu/interactive/imm_files/test.html

As a group, answer the questions. All responses must be correct or NONE of you can vote!

  • States started to allow women to vote in 1915 (ex. Wyoming) eventually leading to 19th Amendment in 1920
  • 18 year-olds got the right to vote in 1971 as the 26th Amendment was ratified.
    • Largely due to the Vietnam Conflict.
    • Average age of war dead was 19.
effects of increased eligibility
Effects of increased eligibility
  • Were unforeseen- newly eligible voters did not flock to one particular party over another and did not vote for radical candidates or issues
  • So why the continuing low-voter turnout?
explaining voter turnout
Explaining Voter Turnout
  • Decline in popular interest in elections
  • Weakening of competitiveness between political parties
  • Decline more apparent than real:
    • Voters were more easily manipulated in past
    • Voter fraud prevalent (Public polling, Party ballots, floaters “voted early and voted often” and parties counted and the padded ballots) before Australian Ballots adopted around the turn of century.
explaining voter turnout1
Explaining Voter Turnout
  • Political withdrawal- fewer citizens felt close enough to or care about government to be interested in voting
  • Rational ignorance effect- when people purposely decide not to become informed on an issue because they believe that their vote on the issue is not likely to be a deciding one; a lack of incentive to seek the necessary information to cast an intelligent vote
Unintended consequences of stricter voter restrictions

Registration process reduced voting

Education requirements of the Progressives in the early 1900s caused a drop in voter turnout

Explaining Voter Turnout