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California Voter Participation Survey

Voter Participation: A Brief Literature Review

Jessica Roberts
University of California, Davis
Research Assistant, California Voter Foundation


This summary provides a comprehensive but not exhaustive look at existing research on voting and registration issues in California, and elsewhere.  The review begins with the work on voting and turnout. It then turns to a discussion of underrepresented voters, particularly in California.  The barriers to political participation identified by researchers are noted, as are suggestions for reform.  The summary explains the strong foundation for the California Voter Foundation’s 2004 voter participation survey laid by previous research.    

Methods of Measuring Turnout

There is disagreement among scholars about how to measure voter turnout most accurately.  Thomas Patterson, for example, the author of The Vanishing Voter, employs the traditional method of measurement, which is to compare turnout to the voting-age population, or VAP.  Others, such as Michael McDonald and Samuel Popkin, the authors of The Myth of the Vanishing Voter, prefer to use what they call the voting-eligible population, or VEP, as a means of measuring turnout. The VEP, they suggest, is more accurate, because it excludes those voting-age subgroups who are ineligible to vote, such as noncitizens and felons.  And it includes certain subgroups, such as American military personnel living abroad, who are not counted in the VAP method.  The crux of McDonald and Popkin’s argument is that it is the ineligible population that is increasing in the United States, not the nonvoting population.  Their thesis also provides political reformers with real hope that voting participation can be improved, and it points particularly to the naturalization of immigrants as a major avenue for positive change.

Increasing Participation among Immigrant Communities

California is a state heavily populated by immigrants.  A report by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) on the state’s demographics and civic engagement made a variety of recommendations for increasing civic and political involvement.1  If adopted and fully implemented, these strategies would lead to substantially greater voter registration and turnout rates in immigrant communities.  The report emphasized that first generation immigrants represent an untapped resource for civic involvement and stand to benefit immensely from increased community involvement by improving local conditions.  PPIC recommends that efforts to increase civic engagement should follow a regional approach, because the state has diverse regions and each struggles with unique issues.  The report also pressed for comprehensive improvements in economic conditions and educational attainment to reduce ethnic gaps in voting participation.  Greater outreach efforts by civic and political institutions were also recommended.

Predicting Turnout: SES or Civic Voluntarism?

Although socioeconomic factors like age, income, educational attainment and residential stability are considered by most scholars to be the strongest predictors of voter turnout, other considerations also play a part in determining who is likely to vote or abstain, especially in relation to the “Asian Anomaly,” discussed later.  Sidney Verba, Kay Lehman Schlozman and Henry Brady criticize the socioeconomic status (SES) model, arguing that “it fails to provide a coherent rationale for the connection between the explanatory socioeconomic variables and participation.”  Their alternative model, the Civic Voluntarism Model, is based on the assumption that resources, such as money, time and civic skills, are the key to understanding a person’s penchant for political activity, including voting.  “By showing how resources that are differentially available on the basis of socioeconomic status affect various modes of political activity, we explain not only why some individuals are more active and others less, but also why certain kinds of people are more likely to engage in particular participatory acts.” 2 

Michael Schudson, in his book The Good Citizen: A History of American Civic Life, argues that the commitment to citizenship in the United States has not disappeared or even declined.3  Instead, he thinks, it has changed.  For Schudson, like others, methods of defining and measuring political participation need to be reexamined.  He insists that even if voting rates are down, civic participation is still going strong in the micro-processes of American social life, although these are admittedly difficult to quantify.  According to Schudson, individual political activity has actually risen in the past 25 years.  In addition to standing in line at polling places to exercise their citizenship, people now involve themselves in politics in homes, schools and places of employment.

Voting as a Rational Choice

According to Steven Rosenstone and John Mark Hansen, “people participate in politics not so much because of who they are, but because of the political choices and incentives they are offered.”4  They base this conclusion on an examination of data from national elections between 1952 and 1988.  Restated, they believe that participation is explained by rational choice theory (RCT), which holds that people behave in whichever way best serves their own self-interest.  A rational choice is, thus, the result of a calculation about the costs and benefits involved in the options presented in any given decision-making situation.

Not everyone agrees that rational choice theory can satisfactorily explain voter turnout.  Raymond Wolfinger, for example, argues that RCT is “inherently unsuited to illuminating voter turnout.”5  Although Rosenstone and Hansen and others believe that people vote principally because they seek personal benefits or rewards, Wolfinger points out that it just doesn’t make sense to understand the act of voting as a cost.  Nor can one really say that all voters anticipate reaping the same rewards or benefits from the multiple ballot initiatives often found in California elections.  Rational choice theory also fails to deal with the fact that most people cannot vote because they are not registered.  And furthermore, RCT has not, in Wolfinger’s view, properly explained variations in turnout from group to group, place to place, contest to contest, or election to election.  Verba et al. are also skeptical about the usefulness of RCT in explaining or predicting voting behavior.  According to RCT, they say, it makes little sense for individuals to take part in politics, but a great many do.  So, there must, in their view, be more to understanding voter participation than RCT can offer.

Participation and the Power of Persuasion

Rosenstone and Hansen also found that people are more inclined to participate when they are invited to do so.  For example, people are more likely to vote if they are contacted and persuaded by politicians, political parties, interest groups or activists.  Indeed, mobilization through a network of personal contacts may be just as important an element in motivating participation as socioeconomic status.  This hypothesis is echoed in Ed Keller and Jon Berry’s work, The Influentials, in which the central premise is that there are a handful of extremely persuasive individuals in the U.S. who make the society, culture, and marketplace run.6   Such influentials are the most socially and politically active Americans in their communities and they have myriad connections with a variety of groups.  According to Keller and Berry, these people are twice as likely as the average person to be turned to for advice about politics, as well as consumer decisions.


Mobilization appears to be a particularly effective strategy for increasing voter registration and turnout among traditionally underrepresented groups in the electorate.  Rosenstone and Hansen argue, in fact, that extensive mobilization is necessary in order to promote equality.  Too often, they claim, political mobilizers will target people who are convenient, predictable, identifiable and accessible, which usually means those who are educated, wealthy and powerful.  This strategy has particularly dire consequences for those who lack the resources that facilitate participation.  “The idle go unheard,” they write, and “do not speak up, define the agenda, frame the issues, or affect the choices leaders make.”7

Donald Green and Alan Gerber found that door-to-door canvassing is the most effective way to increase voter turnout when compared to other techniques such as phone banks and leafleting.  In their study of local election turnout, one additional vote was produced for every fourteen people successfully contacted in person by canvassers.  On the other hand, contacting eligible but traditionally underrepresented voters can be difficult, and the door-to-door method is quite expensive.8

Snapshots of America’s Nonvoters

A national survey by Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism polled 1,000 nonvoters prior to the 1996 presidential election and published the results as “No Show ’96: Americans Who Do Not Vote”, by Jack Doppelt and Ellen Shearer.9  Much of what they found corroborated previous research.  Some of their findings, however, are notable:

In 1999, a follow-up national survey looked at both nonvoters and voters (approximately 1,000 of each) and then probed respondents further through a series of small focus groups. The results culled from the focus groups, as well as from in-depth follow-up interviews with thirty nonvoters, were published in Nonvoters: America’s No Shows.10  This work showed, among other things, that:

Same day voter registration is often recommended as a strategy for increasing turnout.  Outreach efforts regarding where, when, and how to register have also been identified as useful strategies, because some of those polled said they did not realize that they could register to vote, for example, at the Department of Motor Vehicles or that they could vote by absentee ballot.  Doppelt and Shearer are generally skeptical about the cumulative impact of often recommended strategies such as longer voting hours, weekend voting, mail-in voting, more flexible absentee voting rules, shorter ballots, and limitations on negative campaign advertising.  This amounts to nibbling at the edges, in their view, of a nonvoter participation problem that will not be solved without more fundamental shifts in attitudes and beliefs about the importance of participatory democracy.

The Impact of Post-Registration Provisions

In a 2002 study, Raymond Wolfinger, Benjamin Highton, and Megan Mullin looked at the effects of four post-registration laws on voter turnout.11  The laws variously specify pre-election mailings informing each registrant of the location of his or her polling place, the mailing of a sample ballot to each registrant, the implementation of longer polling hours (keeping polls open in some cases from dawn until 9 p.m.), and requiring firms to give their employees time off to vote.  They concluded that there was virtually no detectable relationship between provisions for time off from work and registrants’ turnout.  Longer polling hours, however, were estimated to increase voter turnout by 2.1 percentage points.  Mailed information about polling place locations or upcoming ballot issues were especially helpful to voters with less education and raised their turnout anywhere from 1.2 to 4.3 percentage points.  Moreover, post-registration provisions are relatively inexpensive to implement and will likely face little opposition.

The National Voter Registration Act

The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993 requires states to provide the opportunity to register to vote at drivers’ license and motor vehicle bureaus, as well as state aid agency offices and public libraries.  Better known as the “motor-voter” law, the statute sought to increase turnout by alleviating barriers associated with and occurring during the registration process.  The law is specifically targeted at those who are least likely to register, such as those of low socioeconomic status.12  David Hill conducted a study of 1996 data to see if implementation of the motor-voter law had an impact on state-level turnout among traditionally low-turnout groups, such as young people, minorities, and the poor.  Although his analysis did detect slight decreases in the age and racial biases of available data about state-level voter turnout, it was difficult to explain the closing of the gaps as a direct effect of the motor-voter law.  Hill concluded that the effects of the NVRA were modest at best, although a future study might capture the longer-term effects of the NVRA on voter turnout.13

In other work, Wolfinger and Hoffman found that while the NVRA did increase voter registration it did so at the expense of minority racial groups.  Even though voter registration was also made available at public assistance agencies in an effort to compensate for any disparities, African American and Latino new registrants were still less likely than their white counterparts to use the NVRA to register.  Additionally, those registering under the NVRA were less likely to turn out (by 12-14 percentage points) than those registering by other means, indicating that those who make a concerted effort to register may be more committed to voting than those who register out of convenience.

California’s Experiment with the Blanket Primary

In 1996, California voters enacted Proposition 198, an initiative that introduced the blanket primary to the state.  In June of 2000, however, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the blanket primary violated the rights of political parties to free association.  Blanket primaries are thought to be good for turnout because voters are free to participate in any party primary.  This arguably creates a greater incentive to participate than a closed primary in which only voters who are registered with a particular party can participate in that party’s primary.  There are also open primaries, in which participation is open to all registered voters but each party has a separate ballot, and voters are restricted to participating in the selection of nominees for one party in a given election. 

Did the short-lived blanket primary have any impact on participation?  Bruce Cain and Elisabeth Gerber found that it had a significant effect on crossover voting, where people switch parties, and that it moderated candidate ideology.14  They applaud the open primary for giving voters more party choices than they had before.  They did not find, however, that it significantly affected voter turnout.  And the effect of pushing candidates to a more centrist platform may actually result in a narrower range of choice for voters.  Most importantly, perhaps, Cain and Gerber highlight the fact that changing the rules of voting does seem to change the incentives of voters and candidates.  And this makes it likely that more experiments with the voting process will occur in future.

California’s Underrepresented Groups

For the California Voter Foundation’s research, we identified four groups that are underrepresented to varying degrees among the California electorate, and who are noticeably underrepresented in the state’s voting population—young people, Latinos, African Americans, and Asian Americans.  Each group has unique characteristics that place them at a disadvantage in the political process.  Consequently, the enfranchisement of each group requires specific strategies and success depends both on an understanding of the historical and contemporary challenges faced by each group and on the strengths and capacities that each group possesses. 

Young People and Voter Turnout

It is well established that age is one of the best predictors of voter turnout.  Age is a measure of political experience and is related to other important socioeconomic predictors of voting, like income and residential stability.15  Nonvoters have been consistently identified as disproportionately young: 27 percent are between the ages of 18-29.16   Furthermore, voters in the 18-24 age group have, with the exception of 1992, experienced a steady decline in turnout since 1972.17

Some observers explain this by using the “life-experience” hypothesis, which holds that as people grow older they acquire resources that promote political participation.  They gain experience, knowledge, skills, and social connections that better prepare them to take part in the democratic process.  According to Rosenstone and Hansen, sixty-five-year-olds are 29 percent more likely to vote in presidential elections than eighteen-year-olds.  It is only after age 67 that the probability of voting begins to drop slightly, but even then only by about one percentage point.  The middle-aged are about twice as likely as the young to work for a party or a candidate and eighty-year-olds are more than twice as likely as eighteen-year-olds to contribute money to a party or candidate.  Overall, then, “participation in electoral politics increases throughout life.”18  These findings corroborate those of Wolfinger and Rosenstone in Who Votes? and the work of Doppelt and Shearer on nonvoters.19

Youth Opinion Polls

In 1998, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) conducted a comprehensive opinion survey among young people.20  It showed, among other things, that:

Based on its survey, NASS made several recommendations aimed at increasing youth voter turnout.  One was that more parental involvement needs to occur to improve learning about the importance of citizenship and participation.  Second, high school government classes should be made more participatory and be designed to engage students.  And positive media coverage and more political party outreach to young people would help stimulate youth interest in politics and engage them for the long term.

In another study on youth political attitudes, surveys were distributed to 600 San Diego County high school seniors who participated in a Registrar of Voters-sponsored effort to serve as official poll workers.23  Most of the respondents said their experience working at the polls was a positive one.  Ninety-eight percent said the experience made them more likely to vote in future elections and 93 percent said that they would recommend the experience to other students.

The Youth/Minority Intersect

The Public Policy Institute of California reports that the voices of younger, lower-income, and minority residents are less likely to be heard in the overall political process.  In the case of Latinos, their underrepresentation at the polls has been attributed to this minority group’s relative youth.24  Additionally, research has found that post-registration factors, such as the dissemination of sample ballots, polling place location information, and the extension of polling place hours, positively affect minority groups because the changes most directly affect younger voters, who are overrepresented among minority groups.25


According to the 2000 Census, persons of Hispanic or Latino origin make up about a third (33 percent) of California’s population26 and their numbers have grown by a factor of ten since 1950.27  Despite the rapid rate at which the Latino population is growing, however, Latinos make up only 13 percent of California’s registered voters.  Furthermore, it is estimated that if current trends prevail whites will comprise a mere 30 percent of the population by 2040 but still account for the majority of voters.28  It is crucial, then, to understand the barriers Latinos face in getting to the polls.

Latino Diversity

Previous research tells us that identifying barriers and proposing solutions to overcoming those barriers for Latinos will not be a clear-cut process.  The first step is to dispel the major misconception about California’s Latino population, which is that it is a homogeneous voting bloc.  There are, in fact, numerous Latino subgroups in California, with varied ideologies and party affiliations.  The limited previous research on Latinos and voting has operated under the assumption that all Latinos share similar concerns and, therefore, vote or would vote along ethnic lines.  Recent work recognizes that “the Latino population defies simple description and categorization,”29 and that an important key to understanding Latino political action and inaction is an appreciation of the differences between Mexicans, Cubans, Salvadorans, and other Latino subgroups.  This makes descriptions of the barriers to participation faced by Latinos in general limited in their value.  The following discussion should be read with this caveat in mind. 

Latino Registration

The fact that 32 percent of Latinos living in California do not have United States citizenship is one major barrier to their voter registration.  To address this, the Public Policy Institute of California calls for a tripartite solution consisting of English language instruction, the provision of assistance in applying for citizenship, and additional resources for implementing the naturalization process.30  Louis DeSipio, author of Counting on the Latino Vote, also argues that the naturalization process is unduly difficult and unfair, especially for older immigrants.  He wants the process reformed, specifically so that the citizenship test is offered in a variety of languages.31  His critique of the naturalization process is mirrored in the PPIC report on immigration and the California electorate.32

Latino Turnout

One of the most widely accepted explanations for low voter registration and turnout among Latinos is provided by the socioeconomic status model (SES) that takes four major factors into account when assessing a person’s likelihood to vote. They are age, education, income, and residential stability.  According to PPIC, this small set of factors accounts for most of the turnout differences between ethnic groups.33  PPIC contends that if Latinos had the same SES as whites, their voting rate would be similar or equal to that of whites.  But Latinos tend to be young (over one-third of Latinos in the U.S. are under the age of 18), they tend to have less education and income, and they tend to change residences more often than whites.34  So, being Latino does not in and of itself reduce participation.  It is associated, rather, with a lack of political resources.35

Other possible approaches to increasing Latino turnout:

African Americans

African Americans have a long history of disenfranchisement in the United States.  Beginning with slavery and continuing into modern times, discriminatory legal barriers, such as Jim Crow laws in the southern states, and constitutional violations, such as the “grandfather clause” have either severely restricted the right to vote among African Americans or in many cases have effectively denied that right.  Not until the 1960s with passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were African Americans able to take full advantage of their right to participate.  Since then they have made substantial progress in overcoming the legal and social barriers placed before them.43

African Americans comprise 6.2 percent (2,184,000) of the population in California.44  Nationwide, African Americans were only recently surpassed by Latinos as the largest minority group, though in California Latinos have held that position for several years.  Some 6 percent of California’s registered voters are African American (approximately 900,000) but in the 2002 midterm election they made up only 4 percent of voters (down from 13 percent in the 1998 midterm election).  When compared to other California minority groups, such as Latinos and Asian Americans, African American participation is almost at parity with their proportionality in the total population, although the numbers may mask other participation discrepancies.

Registration and African Americans

For African Americans, as for other minority groups, low voter registration and voting participation have been attributed in the past to socioeconomic factors:  age; education; income; and residential stability.45  According to PPIC, these factors account for most of the turnout differences across California’s white, black and Latino populations.  If blacks had the same socioeconomic status as whites, their voting rates would be comparable, which is why PPIC argues that the racial divide in civic engagement won’t disappear unless there is general social and economic progress.  Thus, greater outreach efforts by civic and political institutions, as well as efforts to reduce income and educational differences, are prerequisites for reducing participation gaps.46

The Voting Rights Act and Majority-Minority Districts

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was a principal means of enhancing African American political participation.47   The law eliminated many of the discriminatory election practices in place at the time, including literacy tests, and opened the door for greater black participation.  According to a 1994 PPIC study of elections in majority-minority congressional districts, turnout among voting-age blacks was highest in districts where blacks and Latinos were equally matched and together formed the majority.48  In fact, black turnout on average was 6.6 percentage points higher than their turnout in majority white districts, and white turnout did not suffer.  Conversely, black turnout was found to be lowest whenever a single non-black community of any race or ethnicity clearly dominated the electorate, thereby marginalizing blacks.  The report’s overall conclusion is that the Voting Rights Act has helped create a more dynamic political life for many African Americans as well as an electorate that more closely mirrors the demographic make up of California.49  Because turnout among African Americans is highest when they believe they are able to play a meaningful role in politics, the report calls for the use of race-conscious districting mechanisms to ensure representative participation in the future.

Other research on African American voters tells us that:

Asian Americans

Asian Americans account for only 4.2 percent of the United States population but make up 12.3 percent (4.2 million) of the population in California, which has the largest Asian American population of any state.52  Asian Americans, however, constitute only 5 percent of the California electorate53 and like Latinos are consistently underrepresented at the polls.  Unlike Latinos (and African Americans), however, Asian Americans do not have their political participation shaped primarily by socioeconomic variables.  This striking phenomenon is commonly referred to as the Asian Anomaly.  According to Pei-Te Lien, socioeconomic status, “the cornerstone of traditional theories of participation, does not adequately explain patterns of participation among Asians.”54  So, what does explain the relatively low levels of Asian American voting participation?

Asian American Demographics and Statistics

Although interethnic differences are often glossed over or ignored completely, the Asian American population in California and throughout the United States is very diverse.  No single country is the dominant source of Asian immigrants.  The 2000 Census found 19 percent of California Asians are from the Philippines; 19 percent from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong; 10 percent from Vietnam; 9 percent from Korea, and nearly 7 percent from India.55  It follows that the Asian American community is also linguistically diverse, though most members are proficient in English.  Thus, each ethnic community within the Asian American population has a unique set of issues, priorities, and voting tendencies.56  Among Asian immigrants in California, those born in the Philippines and Vietnam have the highest rates of citizenship (63 percent each) and the highest voting rates.  Clearly, when assessing Asian American voting behavior, country of origin is relevant.57

Among all adult Asians in California, the citizenship rate is 59 percent.  Four out of five adult Asians in California were born outside the United States.  Among these foreign-born Asians, a little more than half have become U.S. citizens.58  For all immigrants, including Asian American immigrants, voting is a three-step process: naturalization, registration, and voting.59  Research indicates that the most effective approaches to overcoming the citizenship barrier include providing assistance with completion of the naturalization process, expanding the availability and accessibility of English language classes, and employing other direct mobilizing techniques (preferably working through Asian American interest groups, churches, and other institutions).60  Many groups are already working to change structural barriers to voting, such as unfair redistricting plans and the lack of Asian-language bilingual ballots.61

Explaining the Asian American Turnout Gap

Asian Americans exhibit a high degree of informal political participation and most Asian Americans vote if and when they are eligible.  In fact, registered Asian Americans are almost as likely to vote as their white counterparts.62  Scholars suggest that low overall Asian American voting levels do not reflect apathy, but are principally attributable to a general lack of satisfaction with the citizenship and voter registration requirements, which are often referred to as institutional barriers.63  It is also relevant that Asians in the United States have long been subjected to racism and disenfranchisement, and legal restrictions against their obtaining U.S. citizenship existed as recently as 1952.64   Some attribute Asians’ lack of political incorporation to the fact that many Asians migrated from countries lacking democratic traditions.  Others suggest that Asians, more so than other groups, believe that the path to individual and collective achievement lies in economics, not politics.65

Year of Entry as Predicting Factor

In some research, year of entry replaces income as the key predictive factor in the traditional age, income, and educational attainment equation used to anticipate Asian American voter turnout.66  In fact, in one study, year of entry was the single most important factor in determining voter registration rates.  The analysis also showed that Asian immigrants and refugees have lower voter registration rates than Asian American citizens.  Furthermore, naturalized citizens who have lived in the U.S. for over twenty years have registration rates comparable to, if not greater than, those of U.S.-born Asian Americans.  It can be concluded from this that the importance of time-dependent variables for electoral participation is consistent with the idea that immigrants and refugees often must undergo a prolonged process of social adaptation and learning before they can realize full participation in their newly adopted country.67


1 Ramakrishnan, S. Karthick and Mark Baldassare. “The Ties That Bind: Changing Demographics and Civic Engagement in California.” Public Policy Institute of California,  2004.

2 Verba, Sidney, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Henry E. Brady. Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995.

3 Schudson, Michael. The Good Citizen: A History of American Civic Life. New York: The Free Press, 1998.

4 Rosenstone, Steven J., and John Mark Hansen. Mobilization, Participation, and Democracy in America. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1993.

5 Wolfinger, Raymond E. “The Rational Citizen Faces Election Day or What Rational Choice Theorists Don’t Tell You About American Elections,” 71-89.  In Elections at Home and Abroad: Essays in Honor of Warren E. Miller (M. Kent Jennings and Thomas E. Mann, eds). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1994.  [Note that this is a shift from Wolfinger and Rosenstone’s 1980 work, Who Votes? (see n. 15, below), in which RCT is identified as a useful theory for studying voter turnout].

6 Keller, Ed, and Jon Berry. The Influentials. New York: The Free Press, 2003.

7 Rosenstone and Hansen, op.cit.

8 Green, Donald P., and Alan S. Gerber. Get Out the Vote! How to Increase Voter Turnout. Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2004.

9 Doppelt, Jack and Ellen Shearer. “No-Show ’96: Americans Who Do Not Vote.” A nationwide poll conducted July 8-21 by the Campaign Study Group in conjunction with Medill and WTTW.

10 Doppelt, Jack C., and Ellen Shearer. Nonvoters: America’s No-Shows. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 1999.

11 Wolfinger, Raymond E., Benjamin Highton, and Megan Mullin. “State Laws and the Turnout of the Registered.”  Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association. Chicago, April 25-28, 2002.

12 Hill, David. The Impact of the NVRA on the Social Composition of the State Electorate. University of Florida. n.d.  Available at

13 Ibid.

14 Cain, Bruce E., and Elisabeth R. Gerber, eds. Voting at the Political Fault Line: California’s Experiment with the Blanket Primary. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

15 Wolfinger, Raymond E., and Steven J. Rosenstone. Who Votes? New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980.

16 Doppelt and Shearer 1999, op.cit.

17 Lopez, Mark Hugo and Emily Kirby. “Voter Turnout among Youth, Women, and Men.”

Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). January 2003 (updated May 2003).

18 Rosenstone and Hansen, op.cit.

19 Wolfinger and Rosenstone, op.cit, and Doppelt and Shearer 1999, op.cit.

20 National Association of Secretaries of State. “New Millennium Survey: American Youth Attitudes on Politics, Citizenship, Government and Voting.” November 1998.

21 Ibid., and Verba, Sidney, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Henry E. Brady. Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995.

22 New Millennium Survey, op.cit., and Doppelt and Shearer 1996, op.cit.

23 Schudson, Michael, and Rebecca Wood. “Students at the Polls.” San Diego Union-Tribune.  29 March 2001.

24 Ramakrishnan and Baldassare, op. cit.

25 Wolfinger, Raymond E., Benjamin Highton, and Megan Mullin. “Between Registering and Voting: How State Laws Affect the Turnout of Young Registrants.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association. Boston, August 29-September 1, 2002.

26 State of California, Department of Finance. California Current Population Survey Basic Report: March 2003 Data. Sacramento, California. December 2003.

27 California Latino Demographic Databook. October 1998. Available at

28 Citrin, Jack, and Benjamin Highton. “How Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration Shape the California Electorate”. Public Policy Institute of California, 2002a.

29 California Latino Demographic Databook, op. cit.

30 Citrin and Highton, op.cit.

31 DeSipio, Louis. Counting on the Latino Vote: Latinos as a New Electorate. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1996.

32 Citrin and Highton, op. cit.

33 Ibid.

34 California Latino Demographic Databook, op. cit.

35 Verba, Schlozman and Brady, op. cit.

36 Highton, Benjamin, and Arthur Burris. “New Perspectives on Latino Voter Turnout in the United States.” 30 American Politics Research 285-306 (2002).

37 Citrin and Highton, op.cit.

38 Ibid.

39 Wolfinger, Raymond E., Benjamin Highton, and Megan Mullin. “How Post-registration Laws Affect the Turnout of Blacks and Latinos.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia, August 28-31, 2003.

40 Barreto, Matt A., Gary M. Segura and Nathan D. Woods. “The Mobilizing Effect of Majority-Minority Districts on Latino Turnout.” 98 American Political Science Review 65-75 (2004).

41 Gay, Claudine. “The Effect of Minority Districts and Minority Representation on Political Participation in California.” Public Policy Institute of California, 2001.

42 Michelson, Melissa R. “Mobilizing the Latino Youth Vote.” Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). Working Paper 10, August 2003.

43 Morrison, Minion K.C., ed., African Americans and Political Participation: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2003.

44 State of California, Department of Finance, California Current Population Survey Basic Report: March 2003 Data. Sacramento, California. December 2003.

45 Citrin and Highton, op. cit.

46 Ramakrishnan and Baldassare, op. cit.

47 Walton, Hanes Jr., African American Power and Politics: The Political Context Variable. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.

48 Gay, op. cit.

49 Ibid.

50 Morrison, op. cit.

51 Wolfinger, Highton and Mullin, op. cit.

52 2000 Census Data. Available at

53 Citrin, Jack and Benjamin Highton. “When the Sleeping Giant is Awake.” Public Policy Institute of California, 2002b. Available at

54 Lien, Pei-Te, Christian Collet, Janelle Wong, and S. Karthick Ramakrishnan. “Asian Pacific-American Public Opinion and Political Participation.”  34 PS: Political Science and Politics 625-630 (2001).

55 Citrin and Highton 2002b, op. cit.

56 Lien, Pei-Te, M. Margaret Conway and Janelle Wong. The Politics of Asian Americans:  Diversity and Community. New York: Routledge, 2004.

57 Citrin and Highton 2002b, op. cit.

58 Ibid.

59 Lien, Collet, Wong and Ramakrishnan, op. cit.

60 Citrin and Highton 2002b, op. cit.

61 Chang, Gordon H., ed., Asian Americans and Politics: Perspectives, Experiences, Prospects. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001.  Others use the term Asian Pacific Americans.

62 Lien, Conway and Wong, op. cit., and Lien, Collet, Wong and Ramakrishnan, op. cit.

63 Lien, Conway and Wong, op. cit.

64 Chang, op. cit.

65 Citrin and Highton 2002b, op. cit.

66 Chang, op. cit.

67 Ibid.



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