Political Participation by 0FGe9ais


									Chapter 8 Political Participation

          Michael R. Baysdell
    Saginaw Valley State University
      Voting Rights Terminology
• Suffrage: the right to vote
• Franchise: same as suffrage
• Electorate: those legally eligible to vote
        Political Participation
• In Western Europe democracies, about
  80% vote
• Common misconceptions are that
  Americans are apathetic, and that
  government and private groups need to
  be mobilized to get out the vote.
• Only about 50% of the voting-age
  population cast ballots in 2000
                  Why Nonvoting?
• Both demographic characterstics and institutional obstacles
• #1 reason--State registration requirements
• In Europe, registration is automatic
• Youth and Minorities are increasing in #
• Lower income, less education are reinforcing cleavages
• Political parties no longer mobilize
• Motor-Voter Bill attempts to rectify the situation. More
  independents registered, but not much of an effect
• Americans find other ways to participate—fighting city hall,
  giving to campaigns, working for campaigns
• Non-voting indicates relative satisfaction of electorate
Verba and Nie’s Forms of Political Participation

  • Inactives: rarely vote or contribute (22%, young,
    many blacks, low income, low education)
  • Voting Specialists: Not much education or income,
  • Campaigners: More education, interested in politics,
    identify with party, take strong positions
  • Nonpartisan local activists
  • Parochial participants: Don’t vote, but contact
    politicians on certain issues
  • Participate in all forms of politics, activists (highly
    educated, high income, middle aged, 11%)
        Causes of Participation
• Education
• Churchgoers vote more
• Gender makes no difference
• Wealth (esp. among blacks)
• No correlation between mistrust/not
• Parties less effective in mobilizing
                    Voting History
• When Constitution ratified, vote was limited to taxpayers and
  property owning males
• By Jackson era, all white males could vote
• 1842=new law, House members elected by districts
• Most British men didn’t receive franchise until 1884 (Great.
  Reform Act)
• 1870—15th Amendment, all men >21 can vote
• 1920: 19th Amendment; women 21+ can vote
• 1971: 26th Amendment, all citizens* over 18 can vote

• *voting rights have always excluded felons and mentally
          Voting Restrictions
• Usually must be a citizen
• Residency: must be a citizen of your
  state for at least 30 days (exception:
  college students)
• Age 18 (in most)
• 49 states require registration (ND)
• Literacy tests not permitted Oregon v.
  Mitchell, 1970
     How Blacks Were Prevented
            From Voting
• Literacy Tests
• Poll Taxes
• Grandfather Clauses protected whites (if
  Grandpa could vote in 1867, you could—
  declared unconstitutional in 1915)
• White primary (unconstitutional in 1944)
• Intimidation
    Permissible Voting Restrictions
• States must allow voters for State legislatures
  vote in Congressional elections
• No state can deprive someone of suffrage
  because of race
• No state can deprive someone of suffrage
  because of sex
• No state can deprive anyone from voting
  based on age if they are 18. (26th Amend.)
• No state can charge poll taxes to vote in
  federal elections—and Supreme Court has
  stated that state elections can’t be taxed
      The Civil Rights Movement
            and Suffrage
• 15th Amendment; good but non-self
• Gerrymandering was a problem
• Wesberry vs. Sanders—population
  differences between districts in GA so
  “bad” it violated the Constitution (’63)
• Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960,
  1964..see next slide
        Landmark Civil Rights Acts
• 1957 Act: Set up Civil Rights Commission, gave
  Attorney General the power to seek injunctions—
  federal court orders that tell someone to do
  something or not do something
• 1960 Act: Federal Voting Referees
• 1964 Act: Outlaws discrimination in public and
• Voting Rights Act of 1965: States must clear new
  laws with DOJ if they are listed as potentially civil
  rights violators, must print ballots in local minority
  languages. Suspended literacy tests, appointed
  federal examiners, set up criminal penalties
         Motor-Voter Law (1993)
• Opposed by Republicans, although we’re not
  really sure if turnout affects election results:
• Non-whites and Latinos tend to be most
  underrepresented of American voters (blacks
  less so than Latinos, since they attend
  churches that stimulate political activity,
  Latinos have a language barrier
• It’s a mandate that requires states to permit
  people to register to vote when they apply for
  motor vehicle registration.
• States mad because federal government did
  not provide funds to staff offices…some
  challenged Motor-Voter in court
              Chapter Summary
• American voters tend not to vote because of
  registration problems
• The most powerful determinants of participation
  are schooling and then race
• Americans vote more frequently and for many
  more offices, and hence elections make a bigger
  difference in how public affairs are conducted.
  Americans also participate more frequently in
  nonelectoral ways of supporting candidates.
        Chapter 8 Learning Objectives
•   After reading and reviewing the material in this chapter, the student
    should be able to do each of the following:
•   1.    Explain why the text believes that the description, the analysis,
    and many of the proposed remedies for low voter turnout rates in the
    United States are generally off base.
•   2.    Compare the way that turnout statistics are tabulated for the
    United States and for other countries, and explain the significance of
    these differences.
•   3.    Describe how control of the elections has shifted from the states
    to the federal government, and explain what effect this shift has had
    on blacks, women, and youth.
•   4.    State both sides of the debate over whether voter turnout has
    declined over the past century, and describe those factors that tend to
    hold down voter turnout in the United States.
•   5.    Discuss those factors that appear to be associated with high or
    low political participation

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