By Zoltan L. Hajnal
Even though there's a common trust that asymmetric voter turnout ends up in biased results in American democracy, current empirical checks have discovered few results. through supplying a scientific account of ways and the place turnout issues in neighborhood politics, this publication demanding situations a lot of what we all know approximately turnout in the US this day. It demonstrates that low and asymmetric turnout, an element at play in such a lot American towns, ends up in sub-optimal results for racial and ethnic minorities. Low turnout ends up in 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 concerning the under-representation of minorities and increases normative issues approximately neighborhood democracy. thankfully, this publication bargains an answer. research of neighborhood participation shows small switch to neighborhood election timing - a reform that's comparatively cheap and comparatively effortless to enact- may perhaps dramatically extend neighborhood voter turnout.
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Extra resources for America's Uneven Democracy: Race, Turnout, and Representation in City Politics
Although his analysis was based on only one election in Toledo, Ohio, he did find that “the association of turnout and social status was far greater [in the Toledo primary] than in presidential elections” (1140). 26 America’s Uneven Democracy half of all blacks would have to move to a different city to achieve an even racial distribution across city lines. Even Latinos and Asian Americans, who are much more likely to live in diverse neighborhoods tend to be located in cities and municipalities that have dense minority populations (Massey 2001).
With such a small proportion of the local electorate making it into the voting booth, the probability that the local electorate is strongly skewed is high. Voters Look Different To determine whether, in fact, local voters are different from local nonvoters, I utilize data from the 1990 American Citizen Participation Study (ACPS). The ACPS survey contains measures of local and national voter participation as well as a range of questions that assess 6 For a third of the cities responding to the ICMA survey, turnout fell below 17 percent of the eligible adult population – less than one-quarter of the national turnout rate.
By demonstrating the openness of a democracy to the minority community, descriptive representation can be critical in creating legitimacy and trust in the political system and in fostering the participation of minorities in that system (Bobo and Gilliam 1990, Mansbridge 1999, Tate 2003). Descriptive representation can also be a powerful tool to demonstrate the competence of minority leaders and the compatibility of minority interests with the interests of the majority white community (Hajnal 2007).