Elections

America's Uneven Democracy: Race, Turnout, and by Zoltan L. Hajnal

By Zoltan L. Hajnal

Even though there's a frequent trust that asymmetric voter turnout ends up in biased results in American democracy, current empirical assessments have came upon few results. through supplying a scientific account of the way and the place turnout issues in neighborhood politics, this e-book demanding situations a lot of what we all know approximately turnout in the US at the present time. It demonstrates that low and asymmetric turnout, an element at play in such a lot American towns, results 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 shows small swap to neighborhood election timing - a reform that's low cost and comparatively effortless to enact- might dramatically extend neighborhood voter turnout.

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Extra info for America's Uneven Democracy: Race, Turnout, and Representation in City Politics

Sample text

The tests show that America’s low turnout greatly reduces the ability of racial and ethnic minorities to translate their preferences into political outcomes. Chapter 6 seeks to uncover solutions to low turnout. It begins by examining the range of reforms that have been advanced in the hope Introduction 17 of expanding participation in the political arena. It then focuses on the one aspect of the political arena that might be amenable to change, local electoral structure. Analysis of the relationship between local electoral institutions and voter turnout indicates that institutional reform offers a viable means for expanding participation in local elections.

Research Design To see whether and how turnout matters in the local level, the rest of the book focuses on three aspects of the local political arena: 9 In line with this reasoning, other researchers have identified a large number of cities where politics is dominated by a pro-growth focus and spending policies that encourage economic development (Elkin 1987, Logan and Molotch 1987). 28 America’s Uneven Democracy (1) mayoral elections, (2) city council elections, and (3) local government spending patterns.

When the minority community is divided in its preferences and when polls are not available to measure minority preferences, it is difficult to intuit minority interests and thus difficult to gauge minority representation. Data on minority spending preferences is presented later in the book. 32 America’s Uneven Democracy Association survey (ICMA). The survey is mailed to city clerks in every city in the United States with over 2,500 residents and has a response rate of 66 percent. Although there are more recent ICMA surveys, the 1986 survey is the only ICMA survey that asks specifically about local voter turnout.

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