By Zoltan L. Hajnal
Even though there's a common trust that asymmetric voter turnout ends up in biased results in American democracy, latest empirical exams have stumbled on few results. via providing a scientific account of the way and the place turnout issues in neighborhood politics, this publication demanding situations a lot of what we all know approximately turnout in the United States at the present time. It demonstrates that low and asymmetric turnout, an element at play in so much American towns, ends up in sub-optimal results for racial and ethnic minorities. Low turnout leads to losses in mayoral elections, much less equitable racial and ethnic illustration on urban councils, and skewed spending rules. the significance of turnout confirms lengthy held suspicions concerning the under-representation of minorities and increases normative matters approximately neighborhood democracy. thankfully, this e-book bargains an answer. research of neighborhood participation exhibits small swap to neighborhood election timing - a reform that's competitively priced and comparatively effortless to enact- may well dramatically extend neighborhood voter turnout.
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Extra info for America's Uneven Democracy: Race, Turnout, and Representation in City Politics
2 In the end, the effects of turnout do not appear to be 1 2 There is at least one important caveat to these findings. Time and time again, researchers have been able to show that even if low voter turnout does not lead to skewed policy preferences, other forms of political participation do elicit skewed participation (Verba et al. 1993, Verba et al. 1995). Those who give money and those who actively participate by writing letters, working on campaigns, or engaging in other more demanding forms of political participation “bring very different policy concerns to their activity” than those who fail to participate through these diverse avenues (Verba et al.
The mayoral data and the California data cover recent elections whereas the ICMA council data date back to 1986. Finally, the differences in geography are equally compelling. The mayoral data cover only the largest cities; the ICMA council data cover all kinds of municipalities across the nation, and the PPIC data include almost every city in California. If turnout matters across this range of data sets, times, places, and methods, then there is little doubt that it matters in local politics. 2 Turnout Could Matter at the Local Level In the last chapter I suggested that existing studies have generally been looking in the wrong place for evidence that turnout matters.
While alluring, the problem with this hypothesis is that another set of studies has tested it and has found it lacking. Studies that simulate turnout of the entire adult population reach essentially the same conclusions about turnout (Bennett and Resnick 1990, Brunell and DiNardo 2004, Highton and Wolfinger 2001, Wolfinger and Rosenstone 1980). Even if everyone voted, outcomes at the national level would be much the same. Another criticism has been that existing studies are underestimating turnout effects by relying on the expressed preferences of nonvoters.