Voting Behavior

Voting Behavior - The Basics of Voting Behavior I. Two Main...

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The Basics of Voting Behavior I. Two Main Questions A. Who votes? More informal constraints on who votes today. B. How do voters decide? II. Suffrage in the U.S. A. Originally- left up to voters to decide 1. Eligibility criteria - white, male, landowner, religious requirement in many states 2. Percent of population? 5% B. Currently 1. Eligibility criteria a. 18 years of age b. Citizen of U.S. c. Registered d. 30 day residency e. not a felon, not judged mentally incompetent (and institutionalized) 2. Percent of population? 75% C. How did we get here? 1. Voluntary changes by the states a. religious requirements removed by the 1820s b. property requirements (largely) removed by 1860s 2. Key Constitutional Amendments a. 15th amendment ratified 1970- removed taxes b. 19th amendment ratified 1920- women c. 24th amendment – 1964 d. 26th amendment – 1972 lowered voting age to 18. 3. Supreme Court decisions -got rid of many exclusionary rules in southern states - said residency requirements were ok, but only relatively short ones. - unconstitutional to say someone had to pay property taxes to vote in school and bond elections. 4. Congressional Action- voting rights act of 1965 and amendments. III. Turnout Across Time and in Comparison A. Turnout Today 1. What's the rate? 40 ish %, recently its been higher 2. How should we measure turnout? a. Voting age population? b. Voting eligible population? c. Registered population? 3. Recent Patterns in Turnout--What Explains Variation? 1
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a. When you increase VAP, turnout typically… declines because the newly enfranchised don’t start voting immediately. b. Closeness of the race. c. mobilization efforts of parties d. more mundane factors B. How Does This Compare to Turnout in other Countries? 1. Voting Rates- higher in some other coutries 2. Some Explanations for These Differences? a. Voting is compulsory in some countries a. Australia, Belgium, Luxembourg b. Registration requirements a. Here the burden falls on the voter, not a party or the government c. Election day is on a workday d. two party vs. multiparty system e. Voter fatigue 3. Is low turnout a bad thing? a. Yes… not random- some groups turn out less than others, and this affects the quality of representation. In general, participation strengthen democracy. b. No… right not to vote is just as crucial as the right to vote. Interested people make better choices. Lack of participation could be a sign of contentment. IV. The Individual and Turnout A. The Paradox of Voting 1. It's rational to vote if: (Probability of your vote affecting outcome) * (Utility of your candidate winning) - Cost of Voting > Zero 2. The Solution? Add additional tern “D”= civic duty 3. When would we expect the highest turnout rates? B.
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This note was uploaded on 02/23/2012 for the course POSI 1320 taught by Professor Henderson during the Fall '11 term at Texas State.

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Voting Behavior - The Basics of Voting Behavior I. Two Main...

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