Oct. 13, 2020

What We Are Learning This Week With Dr. Jack Lucas

This week in POLI 425 City Government, Dr. Jack Lucas is focusing on turnout in municipal elections.
Jack Lucas

What We Are Learning This Week! October 13, 2020

This week in POLI 425 City Government, Dr. Jack Lucas is focusing on turnout in municipal elections.

Can you tell us a little more about this topic?

This week we’re focusing on turnout in municipal elections. We’ll start with a general overview of political science research on turnout, one of the richest research traditions in the political science discipline. We’ll then discuss how well the general literature on turnout applies to municipal elections — and why it is that municipal turnout is often lower than turnout in provincial or federal elections. We’ll finish up by reviewing an exciting recent field experiment on how ordinary citizens can increase turnout in municipal elections.

What else do you cover in your course?

The course is focused on municipal democracy. After a “crash course” on municipal government and policy in the first few weeks, we discuss electoral institutions, municipal voting behaviour, accountability and responsiveness, and representation in municipal politics.

What do you enjoy about teaching this course?

What’s most exciting about this course, for me, is the opportunity to bring students up to speed with the latest data and research on municipal politics. There’s so much exciting work happening in this area in Canada, the United States, and around the world. It’s exciting to share this work with my students, and to help them understand what it teaches us about the urban elections, representation, and democracy.

Finally, what other courses would you recommend for students interested this topic?

I’d recommend the department’s courses in Canadian politics, as well as POLI 433 Urban Policy and Governance. Courses like POLI 398 Qualitative Research Methods and POLI 399 Quantitative Research Methods are also important to understand and evaluate political science research — and to build the skills to contribute to the political science conversation yourself!

Our thanks to Dr. Jack Lucas for sharing your course with us.

You can follow Dr. Lucas on Twitter at @lucasjacklucas