(see also Electoral Reform, Revitalizing Democracy & Electronic Voting)
In other democracies, "electoral abstentionism" is a tactic of opposition movements which view the electoral process as illegitimate; & when it affects a large proportion of the electorate it can threaten the stability of governments. In the US about half of the eligible voters refuse to participate in elections; yet the term "electoral abstentionism is seldom employed here. Why so many of us don't vote, & what would it take to induce us to do so, are vital questions for the future of American democracy.
Faking Democracy: Americans Don't Vote, Machines Do. Lynn Landes, Counterpunch (4/6/04).
Vanishing Voters: Why Americans Don't Vote & How That Might Change. John Dean, Findlaw's Legal Commentary (11/8/00).
On the Web: Specialized Sites
Crotty, William (ed.) "Maximizing voting: symposium," Policy Studies Review 9,3 (spr 90).
Cunningham, Dayna L. "Who are to be the electors? A reflection on the history of voter registration in the US," Yale Law & Policy Review 9 (1991):370-404. Struggle over voting rights has really been a disagreement over whether some citizens are more qualified than others to vote; & the resulting discrimination is still with us.
Halperin, Jason P.W. "A winner at the polls: a proposal for mandatory voter registration," NYU Journal of Legislation & Public Policy 3 (1999):69-123. Reviews reasons why voter participation continues to decline & argues that mandatory registration with an opt-out provision is constitutional & would increase turnout.
In the Library: Non-Fiction Books
Foot, Paul. The Vote: How It Was Won & How it Was Undermined (London: Penguin, 2005).
Keyssar, Alexander. The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the US (NY: Basic Books, 2000).
Kimball, Penn. The Disconnected (NY: Columbia, 1972).
Piven, Frances Fox & Richard A. Cloward. Why Americans Don't Vote (NY: Pantheon, 1988).
__________ & Richard A. Cloward. Why Americans Still Don't Vote, & Why Politicians Want it That Way (Boston: Beacon, 2000).
Teixeira, Ruy A. Why Americans Don't Vote: Turnout Decline in the US, 1960-1984 (NY: Greenwood, 1987).