[13] Voting and Elections.pdf

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Government and Politics
GVPT 170
Patrick Wohlfarth

[13] Voting and Elections Thursday,December 5,2013 10:27AM Voting and Elections 1. Voter Turnout 2. How do voters decide? a. Use shortcuts i. Party labels ii.Issues,personal characteristics,the economy • SUM: what decisions are involved when a voter decides to turnout the vote AND why shapes their decisions in the ballot box Voting Voting & participation–links public opinion to government officials and government policy Compared to other Western Industrialized Countries,The United States has: • More elections • national election; state: governor,judges; municipal election: mayor,city council • Lower voter turnout • Higher levels of more active participation • registration for vote practice varies between states modern era: since 1960s a big gap (20%) between presidential & midterm The Calculus of Rational Voting P(B)-C P = Probability your vote will be decisive • you show up to vote,your vote has the chance to be the deciding vote-meaningful to the outcome B = Difference between having one candidate versus another in office • (B = How much do I like Obama vs.Romney) • maybe I'm okay with Romney in office? C = The cost of voting (e.g.,registering,going to the polls,etc.) The Calculus of Voting Will vote if P(B)–C > 0 P(B) BENEFIT versus the C COST • But,P is almost always (near) zero. • And,C is more than zero. So…rational not to vote. Vote? A summary Rational non-voting • A person votes if the benefits outweigh the costs • This requires that it matters who wins • Also requires that your vote has a chance to affect who wins • Thus,if there is little difference between candidates or your chance of affecting the outcome is small,it becomes irrational to vote 3rd factor towards vote • maybe there is another factor that affects you-a third factor can add into the BENEFIT • e.g.civic duty Voter Turnout Why show up to vote? • Individual characteristics of voters • Education,income,age,etc. • e
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