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10.3 Voter Turnout

On an average the proportion of Americans who vote, is smaller than that of other nationalities like the British, French and Italians. Millions of Americans do not wish to vote or fail to go to the polls on voting day. This was not always the case. In 1876, 86% of the adults enfranchised males cast their vote. However from the early 1900s there has been a steady decline in voter participation, which increased only slightly in the era of Franklin D. Roosevelt. About 40% of the potential voters did not cast their vote in the 1968 presidential election. During the state and local elections, participation is even lower.

10.3a The Process of Registering

Elections would not be possible today, without the registration of the voters. Almost every state has the requirement that a person must register if he wishes to vote. A registered voter is a person who has come before the election officials during a fixed period and has established his right to vote. The function of a system of registration is to record the names and qualifications of all persons who meet the voting requirements in the particular jurisdiction. Once registered, a person's name appears on registration lists and it is checked off when he votes.

The objective of a good registration system is to ensure that only those who are entitled to register do so. It also encourages all that register, to vote. Registration helps to keep the records up-to-date, by removing the names of those that have died, have shifted to another jurisdiction or have become disqualified in some other way. Finally it is a precaution for avoiding impersonation or similar frauds by ensuring that the voters who go to the polls are the same as those who are registered. The National Voter Registration Act may help to increase voting in elections as it permits individuals to register to vote at the time of renewal of their driver's license.


10.0 - Introduction
10.1 The Expansion of Suffrage
10.2 Obstacles to Voting
10.3 Voter Turnout
10.4 Voting Choices
10.5 Getting Nominated and Compaigning for Office
10.6 Electing Candidates to Office

Chapter 11

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