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Ch 7 outline - Ch 7 outline Political Participation and...

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Ch 7 outline Political Participation and Voting: Activating the Popular Will I Voter Participation Voting is a form of political participation--a sharing in activities designed to influence public policy and leadership. Political participation involves other activities in addition to voting, such as joining political parties and interest groups, writing to elected officials, demonstrating for political causes and giving money to political candidates. It is especially important in democratic societies for ordinary people to be involved in meaningful political activities. 1. A historical trend in the United States since the nation's founding has been to gradually remove barriers to voting and participation based on property ownership, sex, race, literacy tests and payment of poll taxes. 2. Voter turnout in the U.S. is lower than other democracies. Factors that influence voter turnout are registration requirements, frequency of elections and party differences. 3. Americans must rely on personal initiative to register, as opposed to other democracies where this responsibility is placed on government. Where states have adopted more lenient registration laws such as "motor-voter" laws, voter turnout rates did not increase. The national motor-voter legislation passed in 1993 resulted in higher registration numbers but did not result in higher voter turnout in that year's presidential election. 4. Americans have more frequent opportunities to vote than others in the Western world which tends to make voting more burdensome. Also, U.S. voters must make time to vote during the work week since elections are not scheduled on special days to minimize conflicts with work demands.
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