chapter  8
26 Pages

Parties and Voter Turnout

Parties try to shape voter turnout in three ways. First, each party has worked hard over time to get its likely supporters the right to vote. Second, once its supporters have the right to vote, the party can promote policies that make voting easier and more accessible to them. Finally, party organizations and their candidates can strive to bring more of their supporters to the polls in a particular election. This voter mobilization has become a key focus in competitive elections. The history of black Americans' voting rights is more complex—a story of both human rights and partisanship. Soon after blacks had been granted the right to vote by constitutional amendments in the 1860s, these new voters—one-third of the South's population—elected some African American candidates to Congress and state legislatures. American democracy has been strong enough to survive impeach­ments, scandals, and candidates who lose the presidency even though they won the popular vote.