Chapter 8 - Political Participation

Chapter 8 - Political Participation - Chapter 8 - Political...

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Chapter 8 - Political Participation 1 I. A Closer Look at Nonvoting 1. Only half of Americans vote, and many people blame this on apathy and urge the gov’t to turn up campaigns to urge people to vote, but this is an incorrect description of the problem, and the solution does not help matters either. 2. When a list of the percentage of the voting-age population goes out to vote, America ranks near last, but if the percentage is of registered voters who vote in elections, the U.S. is in the middle of the pack. 3. Apathy is not the solution to why America has such a low voter turnout rate because of the people who are registered voters, a large percentage (well over 80%) do vote. i. The problem is that a low percentage (comparatively to other nations) of U.S. adults are actually registered to vote. 4. In America, the burden to register to vote falls on the people, and the registration process can often be too much of a hassle for people to go through; in European countries, most citizens are automatically registered when they are old enough to vote. i. In 1993, Congress passed the motor-voter bill , which required states to allow people to register to vote when applying for driver’s licenses and provide registration through the mail. a. This program seems to have encouraged many people to register. 5. Voting is not the only way to participate in politics; joining civic associations, supporting social movements, writing to legislators, and fighting city hall are also forms of political participation. i. If one uses that to measure political participation, then Americans possible participate more than members of any other country! ii. Also, if fewer people actually register and vote, it could mean that people are satisfied with things the way they are, but voting is still important. II. The Rise of the American Electorate 1. Ironically, it was America were large numbers of people were first allowed to vote.
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Chapter 8 - Political Participation - Chapter 8 - Political...

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