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Article expanded to include latest developments in voter participation, such as the election and re-election of Pres. Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Bibliography and citations expanded and updated.

Updated on 9 April 2014. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Scholars often refer to “American exceptionalism,” meaning that unlike other rich, capitalist democracies, the United States has never had a strong working-class political movement. One form of exceptionalism often overlooked in the academic literature offers two strong explanations for this. Some scholars argue that the voting process has been encumbered by procedures that make actual voting difficult. Other scholars offer an alternative explanation that legal rights or not, the voters must be mobilized by political parties and other activist groups. This entry examines the dynamic interplay of electoral rules and political action to mobilize and demobilize the American electorate since the 1970s.

Keywords: politics, voter participation, voter registration, voting

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