The Vanishing Voter

Public Involvement in an Age of Uncertainty

by Thomas E. Patterson

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780375713798
  • 9780307548672
From the award-winning author of Out of Order—named the best political science book of the last decade by the American Political Science Association—comes this landmark book about why Americans don’t vote.

Based on more than 80,000 interviews, The Vanishing Voter investigates why—despite a better educated citizenry, the end of racial barriers to voting, and simplified voter registration procedures—the percentage of voters has steadily decreased to the point that the United States now has nearly the lowest voting rate in the world. Patterson cites the blurring of differences between the political parties, the news media’s negative bias, and flaws in the election system to explain this disturbing trend while suggesting specific reforms intended to bring Americans back to the polls. Astute, far-reaching, and impeccably researched, The Vanishing Voter engages the very meaning of our relationship to our government.

  • Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group; September 2009
  • ISBN: 9780307548672
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: The Vanishing Voter
  • Author: Thomas E. Patterson
  • Imprint: Vintage
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780375713798
  • 9780307548672

In The Press

“A refreshing book. . . . Exceedingly thorough. . . . Patterson puts forth a cogent, well-documented case.” –The New York Times

“A wise and skeptical account of the contemporary electorate.” –The Washington Post Book World

“Engaging. . . . Provocative . . . required reading for the public-policy—minded.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Thought-provoking.” –Los Angeles Times Book Review

“A multifaceted treatment of a continuing public problem. . . . Readable and important.” –Greensboro News & Record

“Valuable. . . . Patterson’s clearly written book offers a menu of sound . . . measures to help solve these problems.” –Columbia Journalism Review

“Well-reasoned. . . . Offering pragmatic reforms, Patterson’s descriptions and prescriptions merit mulling by politically minded readers.” –Booklist

“Patterson’s book . . . isn’t just another tired lament about the lameness of the political process. It’s an extension of the Vanishing Voter Project, designed to discover ‘what draws people to a campaign and what keeps them away.’ ” –The Washington Monthly

“Outstanding. . . . A well-documented project that leads the reader through what works and what fails in our system, and how we can continue our representative republic and make it more responsive to the wishes of the electorate in the future.” –The Decatur Daily


About The Author

Thomas E. Patterson is the Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. For many years he taught at Syracuse University. He is the author of several other books on politics and the media, including Out of Order, which won the American Political Science Association’s 2002 Doris Graber Award for the best book in the field of political communication, and The Unseeing Eye, which was named one of the fifty most influential books of the past half century in the field of public opinion by the American Association for Public Opinion Research. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.