Voters and Voter Behavior
Historically -- Voter Requirements were Established by Individual States
With the Passage of the 26th Amendment and Many of the Civil Rights Acts, the state has very little "say so" in who votes
26th Amendment -- 18 Year Old Right to Vote
Civil Rights Act of 1957/1960 -- Allowed the Federal Government to inquire into Voter Discrimination, and Appoint Federal Workers to Oversee the Elections.
Civil Rights Act 1964 -- Eliminated Voter Registration Requirements that were Unfair.
Civil Rights Act 1965 -- Included all Elections -- State and Local, as well as, Federal
1. Suspended any type of Literacy Test
2. Eliminated Poll Tax
3. Appoint Federal Voting Examiners
4. Power to Register Voters
Suffrage/Franchise/Enfranchise: The Right to Vote
Electorate: Number of People Eligible to Vote
Original Restrictions on Voting:
1. Religious Beliefs
2. Ownership of Property
3. Tax Payment
Five Major Stages of Voter Enfranchisement
Year Increased Electorate Restrictions Removed
1789 Constitution: White
1850 All White Adult Males Religion -- Property
1870 All Men Over 21 Race
1920 All Men/Women Gender
1971 All Men/Women Age/Literacy/Poll Tax
Factors Democrats Republicans
1. Income Low High
2. Occupation Blue Collar White Collar
3. Education Less More
4. Gender -------- --------
5. Age Younger Older
6. Religion Cath/Jews Protestants
7. Ethnicity Non-White White
8. Geography --------- --------
Family/Co-Workers often Vote Alike!
9/10 Married Couples
2/3 Family Members Vote Like Parents
Party Identification -- In the Past, many Voters who Identify with a Party often Vote what is called:
Straight Ticket Voting -- Voting based on Party alone
However: Recently more People have Resorted to:
Split-Ticket Voting -- Voting for the Man not the Party
The Number of Independents have also Increased
Some Citizens are Not Allowed To Vote. These Citizens are Not Counted in the Percentage of the Population that are Eligible to Vote.
1. People in Mental Institution
2. Mentally Incompetent
3. Convicted of Serious Crimes
4. Others: (Determined by Individual States)
1. Dishonorable Discharge
In Ancient Athens, Citizens who did not Vote were Called IDIOTS (Idiotes), because they were Ignorant of Public Affairs.
The Scope of the Non Voting Problem
1. Cannot Vote
* Forgot to Register
* Too Ill
* Out of Town
2. "Don't Need to Vote"
* Whoever Elected is Fine
3. "Don't Want to Vote"
*Vote will Not Make a Difference
*Do Not care about the Election
*Unwilling to take Part in Government
4. "Don't Know Who to Vote For"
* See No Difference in Candidates
* Not Familiar with Issues
* Cannot Make up Their Minds
5. "I Voted But . . . "
* Vote for Limited Numbers of People or Issues on Ballot
* Suffer from Ballot Fatigue
Largest Group of Non-Voters are those Who
Do Not Register!!
Impact of the 26th Amendment
The 26th Amendment was Ratified in July 1971
Allowing All 18 Year Olds the Right to Vote
As a Result: 20 Million New Voters (about 15%)
Were Eligible to Vote
Results: Only about 2% of the 15% Increase Actually Voted.
Only 3 Million Increased Over the 68' Election.
Eligible Increase Actual Increase % Increase
Year to Vote in #s Voters in #s Voting Decrease
1964 117 M +3 M 71 M +2.5 M 62 % -1.5 %
1968 120 M +3 M 73 M +2 M 61% -1.0 %
1972 140 M +20 M 77 M +4 M 55 % -6.0 %
Since 18 Year Olds were Given the Right to Vote,
The Average Percentage of Americans
Not Voting is Down 8%.
About 78 Million Choose Not to Vote
Compared to 43 Million Before the
Passage of the 26th Amendment.