The Society for the
Study of Social Issues

SPSSI Policy News RSS Feed - November 6, 2008

News Item!

What Comes Next?  SPSSI Prepares for a Barack Obama Presidency 

Yesterday’s election of President-Elect Obama marks a historic day in the annals of American history.  It also represents the beginning of a bold and exciting new era for SPSSI and our members.  The policy and advocacy that we, as an organization, will be able to conduct over the years to come under an Obama Administration, will almost certainly be far more well received and supported, and hence, effective, than efforts of the past.

This is a critical time in the development of SPSSI’s new policy agenda.  More than ever, we encourage our members to reach out to us with new ideas and goals for the organization moving forward, as we are further emboldened by the potential for meaningful social change both in America, and across the globe, under an Obama presidency. 

To contribute your input on the development of the new SPSSI policy agenda, please e-mail Policy Coordinator Chris Woodside:

Advocacy Outreach Effort! UPDATED!

SPSSI Releases Policy Fact Sheet on Issues of Democracy and Disenfranchisement in Voting, Begins Work Disseminating Information to Key Advocacy Groups

Recently, with the assistance of editor Kevin Lanning of Florida Atlantic University, SPSSI developed a fact sheet summarizing research from the current “Democracy and Disenfranchisement” issue of JSI.  The studies included in this issue of the Journal span from wide-ranging investigations of the social psychology of voting to a variety of suggestions for improving the fairness of and participation in future elections.

To coincide with the completion of this document, SPSSI has staged an advocacy push targeted towards dissemination of this information to voting advocacy groups including such organizations as The League of Women Voters, FairVote, NAACP, The Fortune Society, and many others. 

In the case of The Fortune Society, the fact sheet will be shared with 2,500 voting rights supporters within that group’s advocacy community.  SPSSI will continue to work with policy leaders at these, and other organizations to promote the JSI findings, and to use them to positively influence fair elections.

UPDATE:  Adam Fogel, Right to Vote Director for FairVote, a national advocacy organization working to achieve equity in elections, has contacted SPSSI to inform us that our voting rights fact sheet has been, and will continue to be an extremely useful resource in the pursuit of many of the reforms being sought by that organization.  FairVote has a strong interest in studies on civic education in public schools and the problems resulting directly from our current electoral college system.

Adam has been kind enough to call SPSSI’s attention to a study being conducted this election cycle, aimed at increasing the youth voter turnout in the state of Maryland.  Presentations have been given to over 800 students about the importance of voting, history of suffrage and the mechanics of participation.  A substantial (700+) control group made up of randomely selected individuals from each of the participating institutions has also been included in the study.  In the wake of the elections, FairVote will report back to see if the study has benefited turnout, and SPSSI plans to report those results as well.  SPSSI and FairVote plan to work together on similar projects in the future.

To access the SPSSI Fact Sheet on Democracy and Disenfranchisement, and other materials of interest to advocates on voting behavior, please click here.    

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Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice.
                                                                                                                    - Kurt Lewin