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Campaigns and Elections

Campaigns and Elections - Ch 11 Voting Campaigns and...

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Ch. 11 Voting, Campaigns and Elections The Logic of Elections How do you keep the needs of the people ahead of the desires and ambitions of the representatives? Regular, free elections The prospect of reelection gives officeholders a motive to be responsive agents People who want to replace current officeholders keep close on them to tell everyone else about any misconduct The Right to Vote Most common form of political participation in U.S. History of suffrage in U.S. Property qualifications dropped by 1840s Antebellum: universal suffrage for white males over 21 Suffrage for women 19 th Amendment 1920 Suffrage Rights for Black Americans 15 th Amendment 1870 State restrictions White primary (outlawed by Smith v. Albright) Literacy tests (outlawed by 1965 Voting Rights Act) Poll taxes (outlawed by the 24 th Amendment) Suffrage for blacks became universal in 1965 with VRA Suffrage for Young Americans 26 th Amendment 1971 Gave 18-20 year old citizens the right to vote Who uses the right to vote? Elections yield collective benefits People enjoy payoffs even if they haven’t helped to produce them by voting Abstention from voting is rational, cost of gathering info is not worth the benefits of voting Single vote not likely to make a difference Voter Turnout in U.S. Levels Presidential: 50-55% 2004: 55% 2008: 57% Congressional: 35% 1990-2006 average: 36.7% Comparison to European democracies: 75-80% Individual Factors Affecting Turnout Age (older = more likely to vote)
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Education (2 most important) Income Race Efficacy Internal efficacy : when you feel confidence in your opinion External efficacy : when you feel your vote counts Institutional Factors Affecting Voter Turnout Institutional context (variation in registration laws, for example) Motor voter (registration at DMV) Early registration Variations in turnout over time Why has voter turnout declined over time? Extending franchise to 18-20 year olds Lessening of community roots (increased mobility) Lessening of political efficacy Lessening of partisan attachment Weakening of political parties Less mobilization (getting out the vote) of voters by parties, candidates or labor unions The Non-Representative Electorate? Younger, poorer, less educated Creates class bias in electorate Does this bias make the voting public unrepresentative? No, preferences of non-voters are roughly the same as voters Other Forms of Political Participation Conventional Making campaign contribution Wearing a political button, bumper sticker Unconventional Rioting Civil disobedience Assassinations Citizen activists Ideologically motivated Protecting/expanding middle class entitlement Older, more educated, wealthier How do voters decide? Cognitive shortcuts
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Campaigns and Elections - Ch 11 Voting Campaigns and...

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