Vocabulary Terms

Factors associated with policital ideology, efficacy, structural barriers, and demographics influence the nature and degree of political participation.

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Compulsory voting
Laws that require citizens to register and vote in local and national elections.
Conservative ideology
A set of political values unified against government economic interference, but in favor of government social regulation
The characteristics of a population with respect to age, race, and gender.
Fifteenth Amendment
Extended suffrage to African American men.
Liberal ideology
A set of political values expressing support for economic intervention by governments, but also for less social regulation
Libertarian ideology
A set of political values in favor of limited government in multiple realms, including economic and social.
Midterm elections
The congressional elections that occur in even-numbered years between presidential elections, in the middle of each presidential term.
A middle position within an ideological spectrum, often holding beliefs from multiple perspectives
Motor Voter Act
Makes it easier for voters to register to vote by requiring states to allow citizens to register when applying for or renewing their driver's license.
Nineteenth Amendment
Extended suffrage to women.
Party-line voting
Supporting a party by voting for candidates from one political party for all public offices at the same level of government.
Political efficacy
A citizen’s belief that their vote matters and can influence government policies.
Political ideology
The unifying set of beliefs that individual people hold about what government should and shouldn't do with and for people
Political polarization
The extent to which a group of people (voters or elected officers or governments) are driven to extreme sets of political beliefs and away from the center.
Poll tax
A fixed-sum tax payable by all relevant individuals, such as all residents of a state; used historically by some US states as a precondition to registering to vote in order to discourage certain groups from participation (for example, African Americans).
Presidential elections
Elections that take place every four years, in which voters elect the president and the vice-president.
Prospective voting
Voting based on predictions of how a party or candidate will perform in the future.
Rational choice voting
Voting based on what is perceived to be in the citizen’s individual interest.
Retrospective voting
Voting to decide whether the party or candidate in power should be re-elected based on the recent past.
Seventeenth Amendment
Established the popular election of US senators.
Twenty-fourth Amendment
Declared poll taxes void in federal elections.
Twenty-sixth Amendment
Extended suffrage to people aged 18-20 years old by lowering the voting age from 21 to 18.
Voter registration
A requirement that eligible voters enroll on an electoral roll before they can vote.
Voter turnout
The number or percent of registered voters who vote in an election.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Legislation designed to help end formal and informal barriers to African American suffrage.