Citizens in the American Political System

The American political system affords citizens a wide range of opportunities to participate in and influence the political process. Through voting, writing letters, contributing to campaigns and even running for office, ordinary people can shape public policy.

Modes of Participation

Unlike the citizens of many countries, Americans have a seemingly endless number of opportunities to participate in the political process. Through a variety of activities, they can express their views and otherwise influence politicians and other government officials. Chief among these is the right of all citizens over the age of eighteen to vote. Eligible voters have a voice in choosing literally thousands of local, state and national leaders.

In addition to voting, people are free to:

One of the most important tools a citizen must have to participate effectively is accurate and timely information. Acquiring such information is easier today than it has ever been. Vast amounts of information about the government and politicians are available with a few mouse clicks. E-mail has made contacting political leaders inexpensive and less time consuming. Not only are politicians, government agencies, interest groups and political parties able to use web sites to disseminate information, but average people have the ability to do the same. Today, private citizens, without ever leaving their homes, can communicate with a wider audience of their fellow citizens than anyone would have dreamed possible just a few years ago.

Facts & Figures

Voter Turnout by Voter Group 1998

Reasearch and Study Helps

Why are sitting members of Congress almost always reelected?
How does the presidential nomination / delegate process work?
Do negative camping ads work?
How long have Presidential candidates debated each other?

Campaign Finance Reports & Information from the Federal Election Commission

How to Participate

A nonpartisan site working with over 400 online newspapers, television stations and Internet portals to bring government closer to the people.

Learn about the Voter Registration Requirements in your State

Use this form to register to vote in any state! (You need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to use this form. Click here to download your free copy of the Reader.)

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

Contact the Media