The Individual in Democratic Government II(5 pages)
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The Individual in Democratic Government II
Voting behavior in the US and Texas. Why people vote, why turnout is declining and who votes.
- Lecture number:
- Lecture Note
- Texas A&M University
- Pols 207 - State & Local Goverment
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POLS 207 1st Edition Lecture 13 Outline of Last Lecture I. The Individual in a Democratic Society Outline of Current Lecture II. Voting Behavior A. Texas Voting B. Explanations for Non-Voting C. Why people vote? D. Declining Turnout III. Political Socialization a. Party Identification b. Turnout Current Lecture: Electoral Support for Governors Highest was for Bush with 18% and lowest was for Perry in 2006 with 14%. Percent of Texas Voting Age Population Registered Hit a peak in 2000 and has been declining since. For the past 10 years, every election cycle, the numbers have been declining. Due to the rules of the game – Republicans prefer to repress registration o Because mass turnout normally leads to a Democratic win o If you reduce registration, you can reduce the turnout. o This is why Republicans were against Motor Voter Registration because this would have increased turnout. o Historically, the South have tried to suppress voting – not free and fair elections in that case. This is why the Supreme Court struck down the law that required ID to vote in Texas and Pennsylvania. Voter ID laws disadvantage the poor People who don’t drive won’t have a license etc. So until the state provides photo ID for citizens then it is unconstitutional to have a Voter ID law. Explanations of Non-Voting Alienation o People feel alienated from society and the political process – they don’t see the point of voting. o Policies will not be created for them because they do not vote No benefit for candidates to bring in these policies either. Cost-benefit o Rational choice theory for voter turnout Is it beneficial to vote? For some and not for others When the costs are more than the benefits – there is no reason to vote. o For most people the cost of voting is higher than the benefits o Costs include – having to take the time of work, costs that incur in getting to the polling station. Education costs – you need information on the candidate, cost of buying newspapers etc. Also there is a very small chance that your vote will be pivotal, so the outcome will be the same regardless of whether you vote or not. o People vote due to civic duty – this is the error term. Civic duty is acquired through socialization – mainly through schools. You are taught that it is your responsibility as a citizen in a democracy to vote. o Therefore, people who are better educated should vote more. Satisfaction Voting in years that do not have a presidential election has the lowest turnout. Gubernatorial elections has the lowest turnout amongst elections. Texas has their gubernatorial election during off-years so they can ‘focus on Texas issues rather than national issues.’ However, no one appears to care about this because it is the lowest turnout figure.
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