Virginia General Assembly

Virginia voters just aren't interested

Somewhere during graduate school, I came across the definition of political participation as it was known in the mid-70s; today we would call the phenomenon engagement.

Voting, which has often been taken as a measure of popular participation in the democratic process, ranked almost at the bottom of the 12-point scale, just ahead of what was so suggestively termed “exposing oneself to political stimuli.” Higher points went for placing a yard sign for a candidate, openly advocating for a candidate or an issue, contributing money, volunteering for campaign support, and the ultimate, running for office. Another standard text noted that voter interest should be higher in local and...