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date: 29 November 2022

Voter Participationlocked

Voter Participationlocked

  • Lorraine C. MinniteLorraine C. MinniteRutgers University–Camden
  •  and Frances Fox PivenFrances Fox PivenGraduate Center, City University of New York


Compared to other rich, capitalist democracies in the contemporary era, the United States has a record of low voter turnout. Even as the right to vote was finally won by African Americans and the Civil Rights Movement a century after racial discrimination in voting was formally banned by the Civil War Amendments, voter turnout has failed to reach levels achieved in the late nineteenth century. Scholars offer two strong explanations for this. Some argue that the voting process has been encumbered by procedures that make actual voting difficult. Others favor an alternative explanation that voters must be mobilized by political parties and other activist groups. The dynamic interplay of electoral rules and political action have mobilized and demobilized the American electorate since the 1970s. Recent collective initiatives of social work faculty and practitioners in promoting nonpartisan voter registration campaigns are central to social work’s core values and social justice mission.


  • Macro Practice
  • Policy and Advocacy
  • Social Justice and Human Rights

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Content and references updated for the Encyclopedia of Macro Social Work.

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