Civic Awakening in the Jury Room: A Test of the Connection between Jury Deliberation and Political Participation



Deliberative democratic theory posits that civic discussion leads to increased involvement in public affairs. To test this claim, this study explored the link between jury deliberation and electoral participation. It was hypothesized that empanelled jurors who reach verdicts are more likely to vote in subsequent elections than empanelled jurors who fail to reach a verdict or even begin deliberations. Data collected in Thurston County, Washington, supported this hypothesis. Controlling for other trial features and past voting frequency, citizens who served on a criminal jury that reached a verdict were more likely to vote in subsequent elections than were those jurors who deadlocked, were dismissed during trial, or merely served as alternates.