Elections and Engagement
Millions of Americans vote and participate in politics in other ways—and millions of Americans don’t participate at all. Why? Overall, are rates of political participation in the U.S. higher or lower today than they were generations ago? How does participation get measured, and are some widely cited measures more valid than others? What does the best and latest research show regarding what works to “get out the vote” or stimulate other forms of participation? Do Americans participate more than citizens in most other modern democracies do? Why are today’s voting-age millennial generation Americans (born between 1982 and 1994) more inclined to volunteer and favor “civic engagement” than they are to vote and favor “politics,” and how do low rates of voting among young adults influence election outcomes and the policymaking process? This new course addresses these and related questions and involves students in a number of special activities and projects focused on the 2012 national elections.