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Voter Participation, Stanley Greenberg 2006
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Voter Participation, Stanley Greenberg 2006

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Academic thoughts related to pros and cons of higher voter participation. Items listed aren't intended as opinions of the presenter, just a summary of thoughts raised by others for discussion with …

Academic thoughts related to pros and cons of higher voter participation. Items listed aren't intended as opinions of the presenter, just a summary of thoughts raised by others for discussion with students.

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  • 1. Voter Participation Discussion Brian D. Newby Election Commissioner Johnson County, Kansas February 17, 2006
  • 2. Session Objectives Today’s session is intended to: • Identify viewpoints on benefits and drawbacks of voter participation. • Provide a landscape view of voter participation in Johnson County. • Identify trends in Johnson County voter participation. • Raise potential next steps for further analysis. Brian D. Newby, February 17, 2006 2
  • 3. Johnson County Elections, 2005 JAN 1 2 3 4 5 FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC BV 229 SH 230 GE 231 Spring Primary Spring General 6 Gardner Parks & Recreation 7 Roeland Pk Ward 4 8 Merriam City 9 County Tax Question 5-City Primary 5-City General Regularly Scheduled Elections Primary Brian D. Newby, February 17, 2006 General Special Elections Mail Ballot Polls 3
  • 4. Johnson County Elections, 2006 JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC 5-City Primary 5-City General Primary – Partisan General - Gubernatorial 2007 Spring Primary 2007 Spring General Regularly Scheduled Elections Primary Brian D. Newby, February 17, 2006 General Special Elections Mail Ballot Polls 4
  • 5. Voter Participation Potential Benefits Potential Drawbacks • Gap between winner and loser is potentially larger. • Reduces recounts, saves taxpayer money. • Ensures full representation, avoids policy agendas by special interests. • Legitimizes the current system. Brian D. Newby, February 17, 2006 5
  • 6. Voter Participation Potential Benefits Potential Drawbacks • Gap between winner and loser is potentially larger. • Can suggest a false mandate. • Reduces recounts, saves taxpayer money. • Voters less educated on issues may drive results that actually lead to harmful policies. • Ensures full representation, avoids policy agendas by special interests. • Legitimizes the current system. Brian D. Newby, February 17, 2006 • Creates potential polarizing effect. • Participants may not be those impacted most by the outcome. 6
  • 7. Voter Participation Two Americas “(We are) left with not just political parity but with the two Americas—dividing the country politically, and, increasingly, culturally.”—Stanley Greenberg • Representation in Congress, the Senate, and State Governors is nearly split 50/50. • The 10 percent of the voters who are undecided are most coveted and most affect the outcome. Vanishing Voters “Officials, candidates, and the media have failed in their responsibility to give Americans the type of politics that can excite, inform, or engage them—and that will fully and fairly reflect their will.”—Thomas Patterson Brian D. Newby, February 17, 2006 7
  • 8. Johnson County Statistics Registered Voters Year 1960 1964 1968 1972 1976 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 Projected 2008 JoCoPop 143,792 177,137 212,245 231,933 243,953 266,489 283,666 328,537 374,801 411,635 451,086 496,691 530,000 Brian D. Newby, February 17, 2006 Growth% 23% 20% 9% 5% 9% 6% 16% 14% 10% 10% 10% 7% November 77,420 84,059 100,610 120,407 140,956 155,769 169,773 185,727 222,815 246,497 312,788 348,552 411,291 Growth% 9% 20% 20% 17% 11% 9% 9% 20% 11% 27% 11% 18% Total Voted November 65,033 72,483 88,314 104,136 117,040 125,637 141,715 155,267 197,265 192,202 218,486 259,599 301,135 Turnout % Growth% 11% 22% 18% 12% 7% 13% 10% 27% -3% 14% 19% 16% November 84% 86% 88% 86% 83% 81% 83% 84% 89% 78% 70% 75% 73% Trend 2% 2% -2% -3% -2% 2% 1% 5% -11% -8% 5% -2% 8
  • 9. Johnson County Statistics Registered Voters Year 1960 1964 1968 1972 1976 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 Projected 2008 JoCoPop 143,792 177,137 212,245 231,933 243,953 266,489 283,666 328,537 374,801 411,635 451,086 496,691 530,000 Brian D. Newby, February 17, 2006 Growth% 23% 20% 9% 5% 9% 6% 16% 14% 10% 10% 10% 7% November 77,420 84,059 100,610 120,407 140,956 155,769 169,773 185,727 222,815 246,497 312,788 348,552 411,291 Growth% 9% 20% 20% 17% 11% 9% 9% 20% 11% 27% 11% 18% Total Voted November 65,033 72,483 88,314 104,136 117,040 125,637 141,715 155,267 197,265 192,202 218,486 259,599 301,135 Turnout % Growth% 11% 22% 18% 12% 7% 13% 10% 27% -3% 14% 19% 16% November 84% 86% 88% 86% 83% 81% 83% 84% 89% 78% 70% 75% 73% Trend 2% 2% -2% -3% -2% 2% 1% 5% -11% -8% 5% -2% 9
  • 10. Further Areas of Study Further research that would bring greater learnings: • Understand national and regional trends, including urban vs. rural, socio-economic, and demographic trends. • Identify more specifically the reasons why persons do not vote and determine specific root causes, if any. • Cite examples where efforts to raise voter participation appeared successful and determine if they actually were. Brian D. Newby, February 17, 2006 10

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