By Zoltan L. Hajnal
Even if there's a frequent trust that asymmetric voter turnout results in biased results in American democracy, present empirical assessments have chanced on few results. through supplying a scientific account of ways and the place turnout concerns in neighborhood politics, this booklet demanding situations a lot of what we all know approximately turnout in the USA this day. 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 regulations. the significance of turnout confirms lengthy held suspicions in regards to the under-representation of minorities and increases normative issues approximately neighborhood democracy. thankfully, this booklet deals an answer. research of neighborhood participation shows small swap to neighborhood election timing - a reform that's within your budget and comparatively effortless to enact- may dramatically extend neighborhood voter turnout.
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Extra resources for America's Uneven Democracy: Race, Turnout, and Representation in City Politics
By contrast, residents with more than a college degree were over twice as well represented among voters as among the adult population. 12 Different Preferences The second requirement for turnout to matter in local politics is that the preferences of groups that vote less regularly must differ from the preferences of groups that vote more regularly. Unfortunately, 11 12 Put another way, Latinos made up almost 30 percent of the adult population of these cities but only 14 percent of the voters in the exit polls.
By turning out to vote in great numbers, minorities and other disadvantaged groups could become a large enough threat that they motivate leaders to be more responsive to minority interests – regardless of the direction of the minority vote. Where Turnout Should Matter 31 than in cities with lower turnout. I focus on spending patterns because changes in how cities raise and spend their money is arguably the most important way local governments can affect policy. Unless a local government actually commits substantial economic resources to a policy, that policy is likely to have a marginal effect on the well-being of different respondents.
Only if nonvoters favor different choices can their entry into an electoral contest affect the outcome. Whether these kinds of divisions are greater at the local level than other levels is unclear. Third, and finally, the groups who vote less regularly must be large enough to have a say if they did vote. I suggested that this is also a condition that is more likely at the local level given the uneven geographic distribution of the population. In the cities where minorities actually live, they should make up a substantial portion of the electorate and should be large enough to at least theoretically help determine the outcome of the election.