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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Turnout Decline in the U.S. and other Advanced Industrial Democracies


Based on what was known about the factors influencing turnout rates, there was good reason to expect that American turnout would gradually increase to around the high levels then experienced in most established democracies. The reasons why turnout should have increased in recent decades make perfect sense and there is little reason to believe that the underlying theories have proved to be wrong. But turnout has decreased over time. This paper examines the factors that explain who votes in the United States at present, and as compared to the early 1960s.

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