If more people voted, it's unclear if it would benefit one party or the other.
Republicans fear that encouraging more people to vote would lead to more Democrats in the electorate since they are drawn from demographic groups who do not vote.
There may be some evidence that this is the case.
Findings from most other presidential elections show that nonvoters prefer the winning candidate because they are more responsive to short-term factors.
The voters who are less partisan and hold less intense issue positions are more likely to be swayed by short-term campaign factors favoring one party or the other.
elections do more than just select leaders, and low turnout might not affect who wins an election.
The legitimacy of the government can be influenced by nonvoting.
The winner of a presidential election must govern the country, but less than 25 percent of eligible voters will vote for him.
The entire government process may lose legitimacy if a majority of the electorate doesn't vote in an election.
Nonvoting can have consequences.
Nonvoters are underrepresented by not voting because they have different policy goals.
Politicians pay more attention to the voice of voters and contributors.
Failure to participate politically can cause low feelings of efficacy and lead to higher levels of political estrangement.
To the extent that being a citizen is an active pursuit, unhappy, unfulfilled, and unconnected citizens seriously damage the quality of democratic life for themselves and the country as a whole.
The citizens who live under their rule have the greatest stake in the continued existence of elections.
The question of which candidates and parties will govern is important for citizens.
We can see that elections contribute to the quality of democratic life by helping to define a crucial relationship between the governed and those they choose as leaders, to influence public policy, to educate the citizenry, to contain conflict, and to legitimize political activity.
Not participating in elections can have consequences.
A whole set of preferences may receive less representation if this affects only one party.
When push comes to shove and politicians have to make hard choices, voters are going to be listened to more than silent nonvoters.
The quality of democratic life and the stability of the system are at stake in low and declining turnout rates.
The quality of democratic life depends on active citizen participation, as nonvoting is tied to citizen estrangement from the political process.
Explain the function of elections, both intended and in practice.
In Chapter 11 we argued that Americans can still cast intelligent votes even without being well informed.
The question of how easy it is to vote is important.
The legal obstacle course people face is one factor that has an impact on whether they exercise their right to vote.
Our theme is that rules make a difference in who wins and who loses in politics.
Election rules determine who can vote and how easy it will be for those who are legally eligible to vote.
Australia, Belgium, and Italy have laws that require the government to register citizens to vote.
The United States has put a brake on voting participation by making it more difficult to register and by making it more difficult to vote in other countries.
People who are committed to democratic principles debate whether voting should be easy for people who don't know what they're voting for.
The existence of registration laws and limited voting opportunities help to weed out people who don't know much about the issues or the candidates they are voting for.
Everyone who is obligated under the law should have easy access to make that law, and people who don't know much about public policy should know their own interests best, according to those who reject this idea.
This is not likely to be solved any time soon.
There is an ongoing and recently intensified partisan battle about who should be encouraged to vote.
What is good for the democracy as a whole and what is most beneficial to each political party are not at the center of the debate.
Republicans have been wealthier, whiter, and better educated, while Democrats have been less wealthy, less educated, and more diverse.
Those with advanced degrees have swung to the Democratic Party in recent years.
Republicans are more likely to vote, and restrictions on voting like voter ID laws, fewer voting hours, or longer registration periods are thought to have a greater impact on Democratic supporters.
Since the battle over the Voting Rights Act of 1965, there has been a constant split between Democrats who favor laws that make voting easier and Republicans who favor tighter rules.
The parties have become more divided in recent years.
The debate over how easy it should be to vote has become a partisan power struggle.
When Democrats were in charge of Congress in the 1990s, they tried to address the problem of people not voting by giving them opportunities to register.
A number of states followed up with laws that allowed extended periods of early voting, same day registration, and voting by mail.
The results of each reform have been a disappointment to Democratic reformers.
Even with obstacles to voting removed, a review of the research concluded that voting remains an activity from which there is virtually no gratification, and that regulating the electorate makes little apparent difference to electoral outcomes.
Black voters lined up to vote a year after the Voting Rights Act was passed.
The ease with which Americans can choose their leaders has been influenced by politics.
The Constitution gives the states the primary responsibility for determining how elections are held, despite the fact that the amendments set voting protections based on race, gender, and age.
Most of the rules that regulate the electorate--how early and where voters need to register, whether early voting or voting by mail is permitted, how long polls are open, and the like--are made at the state level.