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Political Participation

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  • 1. American Government Chapter 6 Political Participation
  • 2. VOTING!
    • VIEW THAT AMERICANS DON’T VOTE DUE TO APATHY IS WRONG:
      • ONCE REGISTERED, AMERICANS DO VOTE
      • TURNOUT : 50% in Prez; 30%-40% in Midterms; Lower in state and local elections
      • FACTORS TO VOTING INCLUDE:
        • AGE
        • RACE
        • PARTY ORGANIZATION
        • BARRIERS TO REGISTRATION
        • POPULAR VIEWS OF SIGNIFICANCE OF ELECTION
  • 3. Reasons for non-voting are complex:
    • Apathy is wrong because….
      • 1. Misleading description of problem
      • 2. Incorrect explanation
      • 3. Proposes a remedy that won’t work
      • Remember….real problem is registration to vote! OR…..
      • VOTERS MAY BE HAPPY!?
  • 4. Americans vs. Europeans
    • Comparatively, Amer. Vote less than other countries
      • But voting for more offices in more elections
      • Other nations penalize for nonvoting
    • Americans engage in other forms of political participation:
      • Writing letters
      • Attending meetings
      • Attending a rally
      • Protesting
      • Joining civic associations
  • 5. American vs. Europeans
    • Voting registration
    • In U.S. must actively register, in Europe, automatic
    • Motor Voter law passed
    • in 1993 had taken effect
    • by 1995
    • --increased voter
    • turnout
    • The two party system not adversely affected although independents increased
  • 6. Figure 6.1: Sources of Voter Registration Application, 1995-1996 Source: Federal Election Commission, Executive Summary--Report to Congress , June 1997.
  • 7. How do different forms of participation affect the government?
  • 8. Most powerful determinant of participation:
    • Schooling and information: more educated vote most
    • Age: largest voting turn-out = 40-70 yr.olds
    • least = 18 - 25 year olds
    • Race: African-Americans vote in about the same rates as whites when comparing socio-economics
  • 9. Factors Affecting Voter Preference
    • Geography ; Rep. South; Dem. West
    • Strong Candidates
    • Time: Realigning or Critical elections = long term change in politics (1932; 1994)
    • Party Affiliations (strongest predictor); more split-ticket voting; more independents (young, college-educated with above avg. incomes)
    • Demographics: Sex; Race; Social Class; Religion
    • Issues : Retrospective (have things gotten better) vs. Prospective Voting (looking ahead at what will be done)
  • 10. Factors Affecting Voter Turnout
    • Level of Education
    • Income
    • Age
    • Race
  • 11. Figure 6.4: Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections, by Age, Schooling, and Race, 1964-1996 Source: Updated from Gary R. Orren, “The Linkage of Policy to Participation,” in Presidential Selection , ed. Alexander Heard and Michael Nelson (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1987). Data for 1996 are from Statistical Abstract of the United States 1998 , 296, as supplied by Christopher Blunt.
  • 12. Verba and Nye: Six Forms of Political Participation
    • (1) Completely Inactive (22%=1/5 of pop.)
      • Rarely votes
      • no organization involvement
      • Rarely, if ever, talks about politics and issue
      • • (2) Voting Specialists (21%)
      • --votes but does little else
      • --tends not to have much schooling or income
      • --substantially older than the average person
  • 13. Verba and Nye: Six Forms of Political Participation
    • (3) Campaigners (15%)
      • Votes
      • Campaigns activists: works phones, walks precincts, etc
      • Better educated than average
      • Distinguishing features: interested in conflicts, passions and struggles of politics
      • Clearly identified with a party
      • Willingness to take strong positions on issues
  • 14. Verba and Nye: Six Forms of Political Participation
    • (4) Communalists (20%)
      • Much like Campaigners for social background but different temperament: doesn’t like conflict, tension of partisan campaign.
      • Reserves energies for community activities of a nonpar-tisan nature--forming/joining non-political local organizations to deal with local problems and contacting local officials.
  • 15. Verba and Nye: Six Forms of Political Participation
    • (5) Parochial Participants (4%)
      • Don’t vote
      • Stays out of election campaigns and civic associations
      • Willing to contact public officials about specific, often personal, problems
      • • (6) Complete Activists (11%--1/9th of population)
        • Highly educated/high income
        • Participates in all forms of politics
        • Tends to be middle aged.
  • 16. Historically, voting in hands of white males:
    • By Andrew Jackson’s administration (1829-1837), voting rights broadened to include virtually all white adult males.
      • Some states still restricted on owning property
        • New Jersey 1844, North Carolina 1856
        • Black males, women and Chinese Americans all get the vote after white males.
  • 17. Quick Quiz:
    • Name the Amendment, Act or legislation that provided voting rights and abolished restrictions on the following:
      • Black males
      • Women
      • Poll Taxes, Grandfather Clauses, Literacy Tests
      • District of Columbia residents can vote for President
      • 18 year olds
  • 18. Quick Quiz:
    • Name the Amendment, Act or legislation that provided voting rights and abolished restrictions on the following:
      • Black males: 15th Amend. (1870)
      • Women: 19th Amend. (1920)
      • Poll Taxes, Grandfather Clauses, Literacy Tests
      • Civil Rights Act of 1965
      • District of Columbia residents can vote for President: 23rd. Amend. (1961)
      • 18 year olds: Voting Rights Act (1970)
  • 19.
      • Supreme Court didn’t see it that way
      • 15th Amend. didn’t nec. give black males right to vote, said if voting denied, could not be on grounds of race.
      • Burden of proving discrimination was on the backs of blacks…..this led to
      • • literacy tests
      • • poll taxes
      • • grandfather clauses to exclude blacks.
    Black Males right to vote: 15th Amendment (1870)
  • 20. Voting Rights Act: 1965
    • Suspended use of literacy tests
    • Authorized appts. of fed. Examiners who could order reg. of blacks in states
  • 21. 19th Amendment: 1920
    • Gave women the right to vote in federal elections.
    • No significant change in voting outcomes
  • 22. Voting Rights Act: 1970
    • Gave 18 year olds the right to vote in both state and federal elections beginning in 1/1/71.
    • Supreme Court rejected as unconstitutional the “state” part thus requiring 26th Amendment.
    • Added and ratified in 1971.
  • 23. Election 1972
    • First election 18 year olds could vote
      • Nixon (R ) vs. McGovern (D)
        • Turn out lower than expected
        • • No party or candidate got a huge “boost”
  • 24. District of Columbia votes: 23rd Amendment (1961)
    • District of Columbia was left out of Electoral College in Article II thus until 1961 never had their Presidential vote counted.
  • 25. Voting now…
    • National standards now govern voting
    • No literacy, property, nor residency requirement
    • Ballots printed multi-lingually
    • Federal voter registrars and poll workers sent in where 50% or less of voting-age pop. participated in last Presidential election.
  • 26. Voter turn-out is still low
    • Two views
      • Decline is real and result in population decline in election interest.
        • Two major parties so close--no real differences
      • Decline is more apparent than real
          • Voting fraud- people voted “early and often”
          • Party machines
          • Parties no more democratic and voters easier to manipulate
  • 27. Voting reforms:
    • Australian Ballot (1890)
      • Government printed ballots, not parties
      • Uniform in size and shape
      • Secret and secure
      • What were allegations from election 2000??? - let’s pause to laugh at Florida for a bit…
      • 1000 voted for all 10 candidates
      • 3600 voted for all but Bush
      • 700 voted for all but Gore
      • 7000 voted for Bush AND Gore
  • 28. Voter drop after 1890:
    • Most scholars agree there was a drop:
      • Longer residency requirement
      • Aliens no longer vote until actual citizen
      • Harder for blacks to vote
      • Education qualification for voting instituted
      • Voters must register far in advance of election
  • 29. Progressive reforms:
    • Hurt honest voters
      • Those with little education
      • People who recently move
  • 30. Voter turnout: 1960-1980
    • Dropped about 10% for no apparent reason
      • Cannot be explained by previous examples
      • Nor can the 5% increase in 1988 (50%) or the 1992 increase either (55%).
  • 31. Figure 6.2: Voter Participation in Presidential Elections, 1860-1996 Source: For 1860-1928: Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics for the United States, Colonial Times to 1970 , part 2, 1071; 1932-1992: Statistical Abstract of the United States , 1992, 517.

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