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CHAPTER X THE VOTERS' LISTS A VOTERS' list, on the face of it, is an innocuous thing. It comprises the names and addresses of qualified electors, so that the only apparent problems are to discover what persons are entitled to vote, and to write down their names in alpha- betical or possibly geographical order. Canadian experience with voters' lists is a far cry from this routine procedure. Until roughly 1900, the opposing parties frequently fought longer and more bitter battles over lists than they did over actual elections. The real franchise in Canada

Chapter Three Registering Voters At the core of the electoral process lies the inclusion of electors on an electoral register.1 Although this has not always been the procedure, electors are nowadays listed on an electoral register in every democ- racy but one - Latvia.2 Using an electoral register diminishes the likeli- hood of electoral fraud. Political parties may also use the register when canvassing potential supporters. However, registers must be compiled and updated, and this inevitably entails costs for the state, which must make the burden for electors as

itizens, Parties, and Voters Referendums provide opportunities for citizens to participate directly in the political process in ways that elections and other more conventional political processes do not. But they present a different set of choices to the voter than does an election. In a referendum, unlike an election, no political party or candidate names appear on the ballot. Voters often must choose among unfamiliar alternatives that perhaps lack reliable voting cues. Yet at least some of the factors that political scientists are accustomed to considering in

3 Voters and Non-Participants IN ALL URBAN INDUSTRIAL SOCIETIES dropping a ballot into a box on a day of strong moral obligation - a national election day, for example - is among the most popular community rituals. More adult Christians vote in a federal election than go to church on Sunday.1 Although it could easily be attributed to factors such as a lack of preference among candidates, non-voting is likely to be seen as a sin against society (50 per cent of the Burrard non-voters claimed that they had voted).2 1 / In a preliminary report to his large

five Elections and voters If the representative process so critical to modern liberal democracy is to be taken seriously by citizens, then the conduct of elections must not only be fair but also appear to be equitable. For participation to be thought meaning- ful, it must also be seen to exert some reasonable control over those in politi- cal authority by tempering behaviours between votes. Even were Canadians 35 million Aristotles, if their participation was limited only to choosing one representative in one small territory every three or four years, their

Introduction Voter turnout has been declining in recent years in Canada and in other democracies (Blais et al. 2004). In Canadian federal elections, this trend has greatly accelerated since the 2000 election. Averaging across de- cades, turnout has gone from 77.2% in the 1960s, to 74.5% in the 1970s, to 73.3% in the 1980s, to 68.3% in the 1990s, and finally to 61.4% in recent years. The lowest turnout ever recorded in Canadian federal elections occurred in 2008 when it reached a meagre 58.8%. To be sure, fewer voters in Canada participate in elections today

THE CCF AND THE VOTER Socialism is for all of them the expression of truth, reason, and justice, and need only be discovered in order to conquer the world with its power. FREIDRICH ENGELS Die Entwicklung des Sozialismus ..• The success or failure of a political party can only be measured The CCF and in terms of its success or failure at the polls. A party which does the Voter not win many elections is not a success. A party which at no time in its history gets more than 16 per cent of the popular vote is neither a success nor a major party. H it is able

101 C h a p t e r F o u r Red Voters, Blue Voters The 2004 American Presidential Election Other than Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, no American presi-dent’s identity was changed so quickly and dramatically from peacetime to wartime president by a single event as was George W. Bush’s. The impact of the transforming events—the Confederates firing on Fort Sumpter, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and Al-Qaeda’s attacks on New York and Washington— undoubtedly were heightened because they occurred on American territory. Other presidents, of course, had

- deed, they lie at the centre of various behavioural and psychological approaches to social science. Nevertheless, theories of voter turnout have largely ignored the regularity with which citizens do not behave according to the dictums of expected utility. This may not be for the better. As we show in this chapter, such anomalies help explain varia- tion in the decision to vote, an action central to the study of politics and a question central to political science (and especially the work of Blais 2000). The apparent paradox of voter turnout has been a central

When they fail to offer choices, elections lose their meaning as instru- ments of democracy (Powell 2000). Yet, despite their centrality for the quality of democratic elections, little is known about how the variety of options voters have on Election Day affect people’s views of the political system. Are the choices available to citizens connected to consent? The literature suggests that they are, but scholars disagree about whether more and more distinct choices are good or bad for the legitimacy of political systems. On one hand, scholars have reported