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The American Nonvoter$
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Lyn Ragsdale and Jerrold G. Rusk

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190670702

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190670702.001.0001

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The Post-War Period: 1946–1972

The Post-War Period: 1946–1972

(p.169) 6 The Post-War Period: 1946–1972
The American Nonvoter

Lyn Ragsdale

Jerrold G. Rusk

Oxford University Press

Abstract: The chapter considers nonvoting after World War II, a unique electoral period in American history with the lowest nonvoting rates of any period from 1920–2012. The post-war period also boasts the highest economic growth rate of any of the four periods, coupled with the early days of television which transformed politics in the 1950s. In general, economic growth and the introduction of television move nonvoting rates downward. The chapter also considers in detail the struggles leading to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the law’s impact on nonvoting rates among African Americans. It also uncovers that in the 1960s the Vietnam War increased nonvoting. The chapter begins an analysis of nonvoting at the individual level. The less individuals know about the campaign context and the less they form comparisons between the candidates, the more likely they will say home on Election Day.

Keywords:   post-war period, the 1960s, television, civil rights movement, Voting Rights Act of 1965, Vietnam War, education, regions, nonvoting

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