Political Science Department Theses and Dissertations

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 28
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    Voter ID Laws and the Correlation to Voter Turnout
    (2020-04) Sander, Joseph Richard; Dusso, Aaron; McCormick, John; Pegg, Scott
    I address state voter identification laws and test to see if they cause lower voter turnout. My hypothesis states a significance that voter ID laws have in determining voter turnout in each state’s election. The focus is on each of the fifty states elections and examines them from 2000 through 2016. With voter ID laws being the independent variable and turnout a control variable, the study was able to determine a statistical significance between the two. There is no readily available data table for voter ID laws, the table created will advance any further research done within voter ID laws.
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    Political Elements of Recognition for Micropolitan Areas
    (2019-12) Nieto, Suani I.; Blomquist, William A.; Ferguson, Margaret R.; Bandele, Ramla M.
    The U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s designation of Micropolitan Statistical Areas brought to light communities with quasi-rural characteristics that had previously been ignored or hidden between their metro and non-metro category. The present study analyzes three recognition elements: political atmosphere, geography, and population characteristics of the state to analyze their effects on micropolitan areas’ economic strength.
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    Avoiding the Dutch disease: Political settlement and institutional development in Kenya
    (2019-12) Nagila, Humphrey Bwire; Pegg, Scott; Dusso, Aaron; McCormick, John
    Petroleum is undoubtedly one of the most valuable commodities in the world with an annual production worth billions of dollars, and an attempt to relate it to the slow economic performance of a country may seem far-fetched. Studies on sub-Saharan countries that produce oil have often viewed the country’s ability to govern oil from an institutionalist lens. This Thesis aims to explore the governance and management of oil resources in African states since this is the focal point between the oil-rich countries and the international community. By using a political settlement framework, I seek to further the “resource curse” discourse by challenging the new institutionalist theory which fails to adequately address the Dutch disease problem. I compare the political settlement between Ghana and Kenya and explore the dynamics of power and politics and how this relationship shapes the functionality of institutions. My analysis of the current political settlement in Kenya that is dynamic in nature, suggests that acceptable levels of elite commitment and bureaucratic capability are unlikely to be reached hence making Kenya prone to the Dutch Disease.
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    Selection and Decision-Making in State Supreme Courts: How Feminist Theory Influences Female Judges
    (2019-09) Oluseye-Are, Gloria O.I.; Friesen, Amanda; McCormick, John; Dusso, Aaron P.
    This paper examines the history that influences the rate at which female justices are elected and appointed to state supreme courts. There are different variables like judicial campaign activity, limited pool, role expectations of women and advocacy that influence the selection process. I pick the states with the earliest history of selecting female justices (Ohio and New Mexico) and the states that selected female justices last (South Dakota and West Virginia) to address some of the variables mentioned above that have influenced the use of feminist jurisprudence on the bench. After selection, I examine if it is possible for said judges to use feminist theories (like liberal feminist theory) in decision-making processes on the bench. Specifically, can we, in fact use feminist theory to understand the decision making of female state Supreme Court justices? For the most part, I find that we can imply that they do and are additionally interested in creating policy and programs based on the decisions made. Does this change with political party affiliation, race and sexual orientation of the female judges? I determine that more research needs to be conducted in this area on the courts of last resort at both the federal and state level.
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    Women Out Front: How Women of Color Lead the Environmental Justice Movement
    (2019-07) Fisher, Luke D.; McCormick, John; Friesen, Amanda; Blomquist, William
    Environmentalism has incorrectly, historically been canonized as a primarily white, primarily male, led movement. This thesis argues that the history of the environmental movement has been whitewashed. Women of color have been the main arbiters of change as leaders in their community who organize against the environmental degradation that disproportionately affects communities of color. Change is implemented by these women through representation, grassroots organizing, and coalition but these strategies have been unrecognized and undervalued for decades. As the rate of environmental degradation rapidly increases, specifically affecting communities of color, the voices of women of color need to be recognized, elevated, and heeded in order to make an environmental movement that prioritizes justice and the importance of intersectional voices
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    Campaign length and its impact on voter turnout
    (2017-09) Hill, Michael Scott; McCormick, John
    This thesis examines campaign length and its effect on voter turnout. It uses a comparative approach to better understand how different countries deal with campaigns. This analysis looks at the last four elections from the US, UK, and Sweden to argue that an effective way to increase voter turnout in the government is to shorten the length of the campaign seasons. The shorter the campaign, the more individuals will turn out to vote. Shorter campaigns also mean that less money needs to be raised, which could limit corruption in politics. Shorter campaigns, it is argued in this thesis, are an effective answer to increasing overall voter turnout.
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    Imposing democracy by force: can it be done?
    (2017) Ochs, Alyson A.; McCormick, John
    The imposition and promotion of democracy through military force is an idea that has been discussed throughout U.S. history since the end of World War II. Military interventions—coupled with nation building—serve as a pivotal point of discussion as the United States continues it efforts to establish democratic states in regions all across the world. This thesis examines three unique case studies post-WWII, arguing that democracy cannot, in fact, be forced. This argument arises from historical research as well as democratic evaluation tools such as Freedom House. Democracy must be tied to the culture and people of a given society in order to achieve substantive and enduring change; conducting an election is not sufficient to establish a truly democratic nation.
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    The referendum lighthouse: how state-level initiatives drive voter turnout
    (2017) Carnes, James Nathaniel; McCormick, John; Dusso, Aaron; Friesen, Amanda
    This thesis examines the use of ballot initiatives at the state level to determine whether the presence of certain types of ballot initiatives cause an increase in voter turnout at the state level. This study is unique in that rather than focusing on individual level voting behavior to explain why an individual may or may not be more likely to vote with the inclusion of ballot initiatives, I focus on aggregate level data to answer the following questions: do certain types of ballot initiatives have an effect on voter turnout? If so, how large is the effect? Collecting data from all ballot initiatives that appeared in the United States from 1998-2014, my research disputes the conventional wisdom that ballot initiatives have any effect on voter turnout during a presidential election. However, my research shows a four percent increase in turnout when any initiative appears on the ballot and a nearly five percent increase in voter turnout when an initiative concerning same-sex marriage appeared on the ballot during a non-presidential year election.
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    NATO, Russia and the Ukraine Crisis
    (2016-10) Frix, Noëlie; Pegg, Scott
    This paper seeks to answer the theoretical question: Do international organizations (IOs) bring peace and stability to international relations? The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) serves as a case study which can help answer this query. Initially, it is important to explore what realist and liberal scholars broadly argue on the matter of IOs, peace and stability. NATO as an organization is then examined, followed by the case study of the role it played in the Ukraine crisis. Many international organizations exist today which deal with a wide variety of issues. The League of Nations, though it failed to fulfill its mandate of maintaining worldwide peace, can be considered the first modern international organization and served as the model for its successor, the United Nations. Realists—who argue that states are the principal actor in international relations (IR) and that they are self-interested and mainly concerned with security and power—look upon IOs skeptically. Liberals, though, believe in cooperation among states and promote the proliferation of international organizations, extolling their virtues. The heated debate between these two ideologies is evident in the case of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) eastward expansion. NATO was originally designed to curb the Soviet threat and protect Western Europe from communist expansion. When the Cold War ended and NATO’s original mandate had therefore expired, liberals championed the continued existence and expansion of the organization. Realists, on the other hand, warned of negative repercussions, as they foresaw that eastward expansion of the alliance would be perceived as a threat by Russia. The 2014 Ukraine crisis provides a good case study which can help determine whether liberals or realists were right. Liberals have claimed that Russian aggression in the region justifies NATO expansion. Realists, however, have argued that it is the very fact of actual and prospective NATO expansion which has caused this aggression in the first place.
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    State election laws and their impact on individual minority voter turnout
    (2016-08-18) Rauch, Jessicah Taylor; Dusso, Aaron; Friesen, Amanda; McCormick, John
    This thesis examines recent changes in state level voting laws and their effect on the turnout rate of different minority group voters. Individual states are in charge of conducting their own elections as well as having their own requirements for registering voters and early voting. There is no federal law or constitutional mandate that requires states to have similar election laws. but The Voting Rights Act of 1965 tried to ensure the laws passed do not disproportionately exclude certain citizens from the ability to vote. Because of this attempt to not exclude minority groups, election laws can vary widely by states and impact citizens of some minority groups. Some states have chosen to pass laws that make registering and voting more complicated, while others have tried to ensure that both are as easy as possible for each and every citizen. Voting laws can have negative consequences for many groups. Minority populations are often thought to be hit the hardest by many of these election reform laws. Some states have been passing more restrictive laws since 2000 and again in 2013 after section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act was ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court. This variance in election laws across states and across election years gives a perfect arena to further evaluate the potential effect. This analysis will look at comparing states from 2006 to 2014 in order to determine the effect of restrictive voting laws on turnout.