Share this
PREVIOUS ARTICLE ALL CONTENTS Next ARTICLE

How the States Shaped the Nation: American Electoral Institutions and Voter Turnout, Melanie Jean Springer

Reviewed by Jenny L. Holland

BUY

 

In this book, Melanie Jean Springer contends that U.S. voter turnout should be understood in the context of federalism with state-level election laws that influence participation rates. She demonstrates in How the States Shaped the Nation that the effects of restrictive voting laws are relatively uniform, whereas the effects of expansive laws are not. Her work has important implications for electoral reform efforts designed to stimulate voter turnout.

When compared with other democracies, average national turnout in the United States is notoriously low. However, Springer makes the case in Part I of the book that this is an overly simplified measure; voter turnout is not as waning as the national average would have one believe. When disaggregated by state and region, turnout in presidential and nonpresidential years is usually above the national average in the Midwest, West, and Northeast, while it is well below average in the South. This section also includes a well-written compre­hensive history of expansive and restrictive voting laws during the time period of interest.

The major empirical analyses are found in Part II of the book. Springer estimates a series of cross-sectional time-series analyses in Chapter 5 to test the effects of various electoral institutions on voter turnout across states beyond the effects of electoral competiti

To continue reading, see options above.

About PSQ's Editor

ROBERT Y. SHAPIRO

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

CONFERENCES & EVENTS

WEBINAR
JOBS: The Future of Jobs in America

May 20, 2021

MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT VIEW ALL EVENTS

Editor’s spotlight

Revisiting the New Deal

What the New Deal Did
David M. Kennedy

Franklin D. Roosevelt and The Transcendence of Partisan Politics
Sidney M. Milkis

MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

Presidential Selection and Democracy   PRESIDENTIAL SELECTION AND DEMOCRACY

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS