poli201_lec10(elections)

poli201_lec10(elections) - POLI 201 / Chapter 10 Professor...

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POLI 201 / Chapter 10 Professor Finocchiaro 1 CHAPTER 10 Elections POLI 201: American National Government The Paradox of Voting in America Americans believe voting is important. They see it as: a civic duty ; key to maintaining popular control of government; the very essence of democracy. At the same time, Americans tend not to vote . Between 70 and 75 percent of the voting age Between 70 and 75 percent of the voting-age population is registered to vote; About 50 percent vote in Presidential elections; About 33 percent vote in midterm elections; Even fewer vote in off-year, special, and primary elections.
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POLI 201 / Chapter 10 Professor Finocchiaro 2 Voter turnout levels in other democracies such as South Africa, Denmark, Israel, Germany, Mexico, Britain, Russia, France and Canada range from 15 to 35 percent higher than turnout in American presidential elections. In Australia, over 90 percent of the voting-age population participates in national elections. What about American culture, society, and politics explain Americans’ comparative unwillingness to vote? Voting: A Cost-Benefit Analysis The Rationality Principle Some political scientists argue that it is not “rational” for Americans to vote The Rationality Principle: All political activity has a purpose and is goal- oriented. for Americans to vote because: The “costs” of voting in America are comparatively high. The “benefits” of voting in America are comparatively low. There is a certain bureaucracy to American elections that increase the costs of voting . Voter registration rules often require voters to register often well in advance of elections. Many states have laws that “purge” nonvoters from the registration rolls.
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POLI 201 / Chapter 10 Professor Finocchiaro 3 The costs of voting in America are also high because of the frequency of American elections. Two-year election cycles are
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poli201_lec10(elections) - POLI 201 / Chapter 10 Professor...

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