Sustainability and Social Justice

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Community Development and Planning (CDP)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Kathryn Madden

Second Reader

Laurie Ross


voting, civic engagement, Worcester, Gateway Cities, election


This research presents findings from a study of voter turnout and registration in Worcester, Massachusetts and takes steps to examine possible reasons why turnout has been consistently low in municipal elections. Specifically, it assesses educational attainment, income, race and ethnicity, and types and function of municipal government as reasons for the minimal turnout. Drawing on literature, case studies throughout the United States, and census and city clerk data, this paper will discuss reasons for voters’ lack of involvement, a comparison of seven municipalities throughout Massachusetts, and recommendations for creating a more civically engaged community in Worcester.





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