Chapter 8 Outline

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Political Participation

This chapter reviews the much-discussed low voter turnout and the poor percentage of other forms of political participation in the United States. After reading and reviewing the material in this chapter, the student should be able to do each of the following:

1. Explain why the text believes that the description, the analysis, and many of the proposed remedies for low voter-turnout rates in the United States are generally off base.

2. Compare the ways that turnout statistics are tabulated for the United States and for other countries, and explain the significance of these differences.

3. Describe how control of the elections has shifted from the states to the federal government, and explain
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6. Other proposals to the problem of nonvoting include making Election Day a national holiday or holding elections on weekends. Voting prior to elections by mail in ballots or no fault absentee voting have also failed to produce significant increases in voter participation.

a) 40 million registered voters failed to vote in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

b) 40 million voting-age citizens failed to register in either of the two elections.

7. In Europe, registration is done by the government. In the United States, the burden falls on the individual. Would reducing the cost of registrations increase the percentage of eligible voters who are actually registered?

a) In 1993, Congress passed the Motor Voter law, which allows people in all fifty states to register to vote when applying for driver’s licenses and to register through the mail. Many did register but did not vote.

b) Data still show many have not registered.

B. Voting is not the only way to participate; by other measures, Americans may participate in politics more than Europeans. C. Important question: how do different kinds of

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