This chapter reviews the much-discussed lack of voter turnout and other forms
of political participation in the United States, and concludes that individual Americans may not be at fault for
their seeming nonparticipation but that other factors may be at work. After
reading and reviewing the material in this chapter, you should be able to
do each of the following:
- Explain why the text believes that the description, the analysis, and the
proposed remedy for low voter turnout rates in this country are off base.
- Compare the way turnout statistics are tabulated for this country and for other countries, and explain
the significance of these differences.
- Describe how the control of elections has shifted from the states to the
federal government, and explain what effects this shift has had on blacks, women, and youths.
- State both sides of the debate over whether voter turnout has declined over
the past century, and describe those factors that tend to hold down voter
turnout in this country.
- List and explain Nie and Verba's four categories of political participation.
- Discuss those factors that appear to be associated with high or low political
- Compare participation rates in various forms of political activity here and
in other countries.