By Zoltan L. Hajnal
Even though there's a common trust that asymmetric voter turnout results in biased results in American democracy, latest empirical checks have came across few results. through supplying a scientific account of ways and the place turnout concerns in neighborhood politics, this ebook demanding situations a lot of what we all know approximately turnout in the United States this present day. It demonstrates that low and asymmetric turnout, an element at play in such a lot 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 issues approximately neighborhood democracy. thankfully, this ebook deals an answer. research of neighborhood participation exhibits small swap to neighborhood election timing - a reform that's in your price range 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
However, since racial and ethnic minorities are particularly likely to overreport voting, the figure may, if anything, understate the actual racial skew in local voter turnout (Abramson and Clagett 1984, 1992, Shaw et al. 2000, but see Silver et al. 9 The figure reveals that there is a severe demographic skew to the local electorate. Those from relatively upper-status groups (whites, the well educated, those with higher incomes, and the employed) report voting in local elections at rates that are up to three times as high as the rates of members of lower-status groups.
First, where we look for the effects of turnout may be important. Second, turnout may be more important outside of national contests. All of this suggests that larger turnout effects may exist at the local level. responsiveness of elected officials is due to the act of voting itself or to all of the other political activities like contacting and campaigning that voters are much more apt to engage in. While engaging in similar analysis, Bartels (2008) finds that higher turnout is not, in fact, responsible for a tighter relationship between public opinion and roll call behavior.
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. If uneven turnout leads to skewed outcomes at any level in American democracy, it is likely to be at the local level. In this chapter I begin to investigate this possibility. The goal here is not to show that turnout matters at the local level. Rather, the purpose of this chapter is simply to show that turnout could matter there.