Political Participation and American Democracy
PUBLISHER: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
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This volume addresses a recurring and seemingly intractable problem of the U.S. political system: the nonparticipation of significant numbers of citizens in the political process. Specifically, the contributors explore the reasons why half of our eligible voters fail to exercise this most basic right, even in presidential elections. Among the questions the contributors explore are: Is there a fundamental and systematic basis in participation patterns? Does social condition, class status, and social identity relate to the likelihood of voting? Does political knowledge and information relate to participation? Do patterns of participation vary among minority and politically under-represented groups? By analyzing these and other topics related to political participation, the contributors shed new light on an issue that, until now, has received only modest attention in the social scientific literature.
The volume is comprised of eight chapters, each examining a particular aspect of voter participation. Following an introduction that compares turnout rates in the United States with other countries, the contributors discuss how registration practices have served to depress participation, analyze the reasons for weak participation by under-represented groups, and present a theoretical and empirical evaluation of the factors that contribute to the decision to vote or not to vote. They go on to assess the Supreme Court's role in electoral participation patterns, whether the timing of elections influences participation, and the impact of electoral arrangements on participation. The concluding chapter evaluates the policy consequences of nonvoting and the potential effects of significantly higher voter turnout in future elections. An ideal set of readings for courses in American politics, this volume offers the most comprehensive treatment yet available of the issues surrounding voter participation in the United States.
PUBLICATION DATE: 10/30/1991
CATEGORY: Political Science