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  • Explain the significance of “one person, one vote” in determining U.S. policy
  • Discuss how voter participation affects politics in the United States
  • Explore the influence of race, gender, and class issues on the voting process
People are shown standing outside a building in line. Signs on the building read “vote here” in various languages.
Americans' voting rights are a fundamental element of the U.S. democratic structure. (Photo courtesy of David Goehring/flickr)

When describing a nation’s politics, we should define the term. We may associated the term with freedom, power, corruption, or rhetoric. Political science looks at politics as the interaction between citizens and their government. Sociology studies politics    as a means to understand the underlying social norms and values of a group. A society’s political structure and practices provide insight into the distribution of power and wealth, as well as larger philosophical and cultural beliefs. A cursory sociological analysis of U.S. politics might suggest that Americans' desire to promote equality and democracy on a theoretical level is at odds with the nation’s real-life capitalist orientation.

Lincoln's famous phrase “of the people, by the people, for the people” is at the heart of the U.S. system and sums up its most essential aspect: that citizens willingly and freely elect representatives they believe will look out for their best interests. Although many Americans take free elections for granted, it is a vital foundation of any democracy. When the U.S. government was formed, however, African Americans and women were denied the right to vote. Each of these groups struggled to secure the same suffrage rights as their white male counterparts, yet this history fails to inspire some Americans to show up at the polls and cast their ballots. Problems with the democratic process, including limited voter turnout, require us to more closely examine complex social issues that influence political participation.

Voter participation

Voter participation is essential to the success of the U.S. political system. Although many Americans are quick to complain about laws and political leadership, in any given election year roughly half the population does not vote (United States Elections Project 2010). Some years have seen even lower turnouts; in 2010, for instance, only 37.8 percent of the population participated in the electoral process (United States Elections Project 2011). Poor turnout can skew election results, particularly if one age or socioeconomic group is more diligent in its efforts to make it to the polls.

Certain voting advocacy groups work to improve turnout. Rock the Vote, for example, targets and reaches out to America’s youngest potential voters to educate and equip them to share their voice at the polls. Public service promos from celebrity musicians support their cause. Native Vote is an organization that strives to inform American Indians about upcoming elections and encourages their participation. America’s Hispanic population is reached out to by the National Council of La Raza, which strives to improve voter turnout among the Latino population. William Frey, author of Diversity Explosion, points out that Hispanics, Asians, and multiracial populations is expected to double in the next forty years (Balz 2014).

Questions & Answers

What is politic
sani Reply
the act of being sensible and judicious in circumstances
Packra
branhes k of sociology
Jafari
think why Nietzsche was so concerned about the loss of religion for society and weather God exists. what social function does religion perform which are so vital for society
tarawallie Reply
response of human illnesse in nigeria
Hassan Reply
Analyse the social responses to mental illness in Nigeria
Hassan
Deviance what couses
Khadija Reply
different classical theories and neoclassical theories
Waziri Reply
what is socialogy
Andrew Reply
It is the scientific study of society
Muhmmad
Thank you
Andrew
Sociology is the science of social institution
Beauty
sociology have alot of difinition one of them is d study of society is sociology
pakhtoon
thanks
Muhmmad
who is called the father of sociology ?
Ajaz
Auguste Comte
Md
park and burgers:sociology is a science of collective behaviour
Sofi
ibn khaldun
sani
Auguse Cumte
saleh
What is collective behaviour?
Khalid
discuss and explain the word sociology
aaron Reply
Search and find out biblical passage(s) which encourage Christian to engage in business enterprise.
Emmanuel Reply
why should a teacher study sociology
Owen Reply
The process of social change in the Caribbean society can not be analyzed using the major macro European paradigm as they ignore the carribean’s reality, to what extent is this statement true?
Alivia Reply
Search and find out biblical passage(s) which encourage Christian to engage in business enterprise.
Emmanuel
yes
Muhmmad
What is the Caribbean society like?
Joseph
And what is this Caribbean reality being ignored?
Joseph
Where can a person with sociology certificates work
Enum Reply
What are the General Conception of Sociology
Maryam
What are the importance of medical sociology on health
Ha-ati Reply
I don't know
Matheus
What is subject matter of Sociology.
Zama Reply
hi
Joel
weakness of confluct
Falakhe Reply
have you heard of pakistan before?
ali
what is Neo Marxist perspective?
Md
ali mehr from which university u study in pakistan and in which semester studied
pakhtoon
Jewel Rana, I am from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology, Bangladesh.
Md
Can anyone suggest topics for research
joshua
is sociology a science?
Precious
yea...but social science
paul
how can education influence peoples culture.
Jones
correct the question
Muhmmad
correct the question
Muhmmad
correct the question
Muhmmad
how many types of questionnaire?
Muhmmad
hello! I am joel.
Joel
distinguish between qualitative and quantitative nature of sociology scope.
Ajay Reply
how social structure influence our lives?
ali
please help me. i have been given an assignment on above topic share your views about it.
ali
This is an interesting opinion. I think it influences our miracle and future
Thomas
The route is the goal
Thomas
Ali focus on social factors: Economics politics education religion family
owais

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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