Voter Turnout in US Presidential Elections Cover Image
  • Price 3.90 €

Volební účast v prezidentských volbách v USA
Voter Turnout in US Presidential Elections

Author(s): Marek Antoš
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Mezinárodní politologický ústav Masarykovy univerzity v Brně
Keywords: United States of America; president; elections; voter turnout; voter registration

Summary/Abstract: The level of political participation of American citizens is commonly considered to be high. However, voter turnout is in fact relatively low, even in highly attractive presidential elections. The article focuses on this phenomenon and the particular factors that, according to the literature, affect turnout negatively. The first part describes various methods being used to measure voter turnout in the USA. The difference can even be several percentage points, depending on the method of calculation. With regard to these distinctions, American data cannot be directly compared with voter turnout statistics in European countries that use a different methodology. The main part of the article analyses several factors that are generally considered to influence voter turnout in the USA negatively, and counts their real impact. One important factor is that voter registration methods can lower the turnout by up to 11 per cent. Also significant is the lowering of the voting-age limit in 1971. Neither gradual changes in population age structure nor enactment of election-day holidays have proven to negatively influence turnout. The principal findings reveal a permanent increase of inhabitants without voting rights (esp. non-citizens). These persons are included in voting-age population figures, and due to inexact methodology, cause a merely statistical decrease at the level of at least 3 per cent of voter turnout.

  • Issue Year: XIII/2006
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 158-180
  • Page Count: 22
  • Language: Czech