By Zoltan L. Hajnal
Even though there's a frequent trust that asymmetric voter turnout ends up in biased results in American democracy, latest empirical assessments have chanced on few results. via delivering a scientific account of the way 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, 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 matters approximately neighborhood democracy. thankfully, this ebook bargains an answer. research of neighborhood participation exhibits small swap to neighborhood election timing - a reform that's good value and comparatively effortless to enact- may perhaps dramatically extend neighborhood voter turnout.
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Additional resources for America's Uneven Democracy: Race, Turnout, and Representation in City Politics
Sometimes they are more conservative. 1 The second, perhaps more direct, way of demonstrating that turnout is largely inconsequential is to calculate how outcomes would or would not change if turnout were higher or if everyone voted. These kinds of simulations almost all reach the same conclusion – electoral outcomes in American democracy have little to do with turnout. As one study recently noted, “There is no indication that the preferences of nonvoters would have reversed many – or any – elections for which we have reliable evidence” (Petrocik 2003:20).
Surveys on local policy preference are more readily available and they do reveal fairly clear racial divisions in terms of public opinion. As we will detail in Chapter 5, these surveys generally suggest that there are reasonably strong differences of opinion between racial and ethnic minorities on one hand and whites on the other (Clark and Ferguson 1983, Deleon 1991, Lovrich 1974, Welch et al. 2001). In particular, these surveys show that minorities tend to favor redistributive spending while whites emphasize development and city services.
Since Dahl published his seminal work on New Haven, research by Browning, Marshall, and Tabb (1984), Erie (1988), and Bridges (1997) has, in different ways, also highlighted the potential of voter turnout. Although Browning, Marshall, and Tabb (1984) did not 8 Prior to these studies there was little research on the nature and consequences of low voter turnout in local elections. The only other published article on bias in local voter turnout was written over thirty years ago and it looked at only one city (Alford and Lee 1968).
America's Uneven Democracy: Race, Turnout, and Representation in City Politics by Zoltan L. Hajnal