From the award-winning author of Out of Order—named the best political science book of the last decade by the American Political Science Association—comes this landmark book about why Americans don’t vote.
Based on more than 80,000 interviews, The Vanishing Voter investigates why—despite a better educated citizenry, the end of racial barriers to voting, and simplified voter registration procedures—the percentage of voters has steadily decreased to the point that the United States now has nearly the lowest voting rate in the world. Patterson cites the blurring of differences between the political parties, the news media’s negative bias, and flaws in the election system to explain this disturbing trend while suggesting specific reforms intended to bring Americans back to the polls. Astute, far-reaching, and impeccably researched, The Vanishing Voter engages the very meaning of our relationship to our government.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Vanishing Voter|
|Release Date: 09-09-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||The Vanishing Voter|
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The Vanishing Voter
The Incredible Shrinking Electorate
I've lost interest in voting. -twenty-six-year-old Pennsylvania voter (1)
I just don't vote. -twenty-five-year-old North Carolina resident (2)
I don't have any time, and I'm not interested anyway. -forty-year-old Washington resident (3)
I don't see any reason to vote. -thirty-year-old Wisconsin resident (4)
Sam Roberts, a Miami resident, was kicking himself. A Gore supporter, he had not voted in the 2000 presidential election. "I should have voted," Roberts told a reporter. "Had planned to but didn't get around to it. Dumb." (5)
With the outcome of the 2000 election hanging by the thread of a few hundred votes in Florida, citizen regret was widespread. Nearly half of adult Americans had not voted, and a CNN poll indicated most of them wished they had. (6)
Even if more people go to the polls in the next election, and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, could have that effect, the long-term prospects are anything but bright. The voting rate has fallen in nearly every presidential election for four decades. An economic recession and Ross Perot's spirited third-party bid sparked a healthy 5 percent increase in 1992, but turnout in 1996 plunged to 49 percent, the first time since the 1920s that it had slipped below 50 percent.
Many expected turnout to rise in 2000. The Clinton-Dole race four years earlier was one-sided from the start. The contest between Al Gore and George W. Bush, however, looked to be the tightest since 1960, when John F. Kennedy won by the slim margin of 100,000 votes. "Close elections tend to drive up voter interest," said CNN's political ana...