Why Americans Still Don't Vote: And why Politicians Want it that Way

Front Cover
Beacon Press, 2000 - Political Science - 348 pages
3 Reviews
Americans take for granted that ours is the very model of a democracy. At the core of this belief is the assumption that the right to vote is firmly established. But in fact, the United States is the only major democratic nation in which the less well-off, the young, and minorities are substantially underrepresented in the electorate.

Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward were key players in the long battle to reform voter registration laws that finally resulted in the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (also known as the Motor Voter law). When Why Americans Don't Vote was first published in 1988, this battle was still raging, and their book was a fiery salvo. It demonstrated that the twentieth century had witnessed a concerted effort to restrict voting by immigrants and blacks through a combination of poll taxes, literacy tests, and unwieldy voter registration requirements.

Why Americans Still Don't Vote brings the story up to the present. Analyzing the results of voter registration reform, and drawing compelling historical parallels, Piven and Cloward reveal why neither of the major parties has tried to appeal to the interests of the newly registered-and thus why Americans still don't vote.

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Why Americans Still Don't Vote: And Why Politicians Want It That Way

User Review  - Fredrick Danysh - Goodreads

Very few American citizens bother to vote, even in presidential elections. The percentage goes down in state and local elections. Piven examines these statistics and gives reasons why politicians like a low voter turnout. Read full review

Review: Why Americans Still Don't Vote: And Why Politicians Want It That Way

User Review  - Steven Peterson - Goodreads

These authors have become politicized! Conservatives have attacked their works (most academic research never becomes visible to the extent of that of Piven and Cloward). The focus of this work is why ... Read full review


The Demobilization of
The Mobilization and Demobilization
How Demobilization Was Accomplished
The Decline of the New Deal Party System
Experiment in Democracy
Electoral Mobilization
Barriers or Mobilization?
The States as Laboratories of Democracy
Federal Reform
Cited References

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2000)

Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward are coauthors of Regulating the Poor, The Politics of Turmoil, Poor People's Movements, and many other books. They are the corecipients of the 2000 American Sociological Association Distinguished Career Award for the Practice of Sociology.

Bibliographic information