Voting Behavior and the Electoral Process

Voting Behavior and the Electoral Process

Thursday - 9:30am

First Class: 2/9/23

Last Class: 3/9/23


Instructor: John Scibak

John Scibak is a behavioral psychologist, having received a BA, MA and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Notre Dame with a specialization in developmental disabilities and applied behavior analysis. He worked as a researcher and administrator in health care and human services and has held academic positions at Indiana University, University of Massachusetts, and Westfield State University. Despite having never taken a political science course, John ran mid-career for elective office and served 12 years as a member of the Selectboard and 16 years in the Massachusetts legislature. Most recently, his research interests have focused in voting behavior and what drives the public and legislators to vote the way that they do.

Course Description

Since the establishment of the United States in 1776 when voting was limited to white male property owners, to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, “hanging chads” and the sweeping reforms which followed, to recent efforts by various states to either expand or suppress access, the right to vote in U.S. elections has changed dramatically over time.

I intend to discuss the history/reasons on what happened historically, focusing on more recent history and what might happen going forward.

In addition, I want to share data and strategies to increase voter turnout, what I learned from my own state rep races, strategies launched by Obama and copied by Trump to identify voters and prospective donors, and what are the key contingencies influencing votes by legislators.

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