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Constitution Week: Right to Vote!

(Librarian Selected)



Electoral Dysfunction: A Survival Manual for American Voters
by Bassetti, Victoria

9781595588128Victoria Bassetti; Mo Rocca (Foreword by); Heather Smith (Afterword by)Electoral Dysfunction: A Survival Manual for American VotersImagine a country where the right to vote is not guaranteed by the Constitution, where the candidate with the most votes loses, and where paperwork requirements and bureaucratic bungling disenfranchise millions. You're living in it. If the consequences weren't so serious, it would be funny. An eye-opening, fact-filled companion to the forthcoming PBS documentary starring political satirist and commentator Mo Rocca, Electoral Dysfunction illuminates a broad array of issues, including the Founding Fathers' decision to omit the right to vote from the Constitution--and the legal system's patchwork response to this omission; the battle over voter ID, voter impersonation, and voter fraud; the foul-ups that plague Election Day, from ballot design to contested recounts; the role of partisan officials in running elections; and the anti-democratic origins and impact of the Electoral College. The book concludes with a prescription for a healthy voting system by Heather Smith, president of Rock the Vote. Published in the run-up to the 2012 election, Electoral Dysfunction is for readers across the political spectrum who want their votes to count. - Description from Syndetics
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Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America
by Berman, Ari

9780374158279Ari BermanGive Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America A New York Times Notable Book of 2015 A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2015 Countless books have been written about the civil rights movement, but far less attention has been paid to what happened after the dramatic passage of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in 1965 and the turbulent forces it unleashed. Give Us the Ballot tells this story for the first time. In this groundbreaking narrative history, Ari Berman charts both the transformation of American democracy under the VRA and the counterrevolution that has sought to limit voting rights, from 1965 to the present day. The act enfranchised millions of Americans and is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement. And yet, fifty years later, we are still fighting heated battles over race, representation, and political power, with lawmakers devising new strategies to keep minorities out of the voting booth and with the Supreme Court declaring a key part of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. Berman brings the struggle over voting rights to life through meticulous archival research, in-depth interviews with major figures in the debate, and incisive on-the-ground reporting. In vivid prose, he takes the reader from the demonstrations of the civil rights era to the halls of Congress to the chambers of the Supreme Court. At this important moment in history, Give Us the Ballot provides new insight into one of the most vital political and civil rights issues of our time. - Description from Syndetics
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Who's Counting?
by Fund, John H; Von Spakovsky, Hans

9781594036187John Fund; Hans von SpakovskyWho's Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at RiskThe 2012 election will be one of the hardest-fought in U.S. history. It is also likely to be one of the closest, a fact that brings concerns about voter fraud and bureaucratic incompetence in the conduct of elections front and center. If we don't take notice, we could see another debacle like the Bush-Gore Florida recount of 2000 in which courts and lawyers intervened in what should have involved only voters. Who's Counting? will focus attention on many problems of our election system, ranging from voter fraud to a slipshod system of vote counting that noted political scientist Walter Dean Burnham calls "the most careless of the developed world." In an effort to clean up our election laws, reduce fraud and increase public confidence in the integrity of the voting system, many states ranging from Georgia to Wisconsin have passed laws requiring a photo ID be shown at the polls and curbing the rampant use of absentee ballots, a tool of choice by fraudsters. The response from Obama allies has been to belittle the need for such laws and attack them as akin to the second coming of a racist tide in American life. In the summer of 2011, both Bill Clinton and DNC chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz preposterously claimed that such laws suppressed minority voters and represented a return to the era of Jim Crow. But voter fraud is a well-documented reality in American elections. Just this year, a sheriff and county clerk in West Virginia pleaded guilty to stuffing ballot boxes with fraudulent absentee ballots that changed the outcome of an election. In 2005, a state senate election in Tennessee was overturned because of voter fraud. The margin of victory? 13 votes. In 2008, the Minnesota senate race that provided the 60th vote needed to pass Obamacare was decided by a little over 300 votes. Almost 200 felons have already been convicted of voting illegally in that election and dozens of other prosecutions are still pending. Public confidence in the integrity of elections is at an all-time low. In the Cooperative Congressional Election Study of 2008, 62% of American voters thought that voter fraud was very common or somewhat common. Fear that elections are being stolen erodes the legitimacy of our government. That's why the vast majority of Americans support laws like Kansas's Secure and Fair Elections Act. A 2010 Rasmussen poll showed that 82% of Americans support photo ID laws. While Americans frequently demand observers and best practices in the elections of other countries, we are often blind to the need to scrutinize our own elections. We may pay the consequences in 2012 if a close election leads us into pitched partisan battles and court fights that will dwarf the Bush-Gore recount wars. - Description from Syndetics
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The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States
by Keyssar, Alexander

9780465029686Alexander KeyssarRight to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United StatesMost Americans take for granted their right to vote, whether they choose to exercise it or not. But the history of suffrage in the U.S. is, in fact,the story of a struggle to achieve this right by our society's marginalized groups. In The Right to Vote, Duke historian Alexander Keyssar explores the evolution of suffrage over the course of the nation's history. Examining the many features of the history of the right to vote in the U.S.--class, ethnicity, race, gender, religion, and age--the book explores the conditions under which American democracy has expanded and contracted over the years.Keyssar presents convincing evidence that the history of the right to vote has not been one of a steady history of expansion and increasing inclusion, noting that voting rights contracted substantially in the U.S. between 1850 and 1920. Keyssar also presents a controversial thesis: that the primary factor promoting the expansion of the suffrage has been war and the primary factors promoting contraction or delaying expansion have been class tension and class conflict. - Description from Syndetics
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The Great Suppression: Voting Rights
by Roth, Zachary

9781101905760Zachary RothThe Great Suppression: Voting Rights, Corporate Cash, and the Conservative Assault on Democracy"Control of the country is up for grabs-and Republicans have been rigging the game in their favor. Twenty-two states have passed restrictions on voting. Ruthless gerrymandering has given the GOP a long-term grip on Congress. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has eviscerated campaign finance laws, boosting candidates backed by big money. It would be worrying enough if these were just schemes for partisan advantage. But the reality is even more disturbing. As reporter Zachary Roth reveals, a growing number of Republicans distrust the very idea of democracy-and they're doing everything they can to limit it. In The Great Suppression , Roth unearths the deep historical roots of this anti-egalitarian worldview, and introduces us to its modern-day proponents- The GOP officials pushing to make it harder to cast a ballot; the lawyers looking to scrap all limits on money in politics; the libertarian scholars reclaiming judicial activism to roll back the New Deal; and the corporate lobbyists working to ban local action on everything from the minimum wage to the environment. And he travels from Rust Belt cities to southern towns to show us how these efforts are hurting the most vulnerable Americans and preventing progress on pressing issues. A sharp, searing polemic in the tradition of Rachel Maddow and Matt Taibbi, The Great Suppression is an urgent wake-up call about a threat to our most cherished values, and a rousing argument for why we need democracy now more than ever." - Description from Syndetics
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The Politics of Voter Suppression: Defending and Expanding Americans' Right to Vote
by Wang, Tova Andrea

9780801450853Tova Andrea Wang; Janice Nittoli (Foreword by)The Politics of Voter Suppression: Defending and Expanding Americans' Right to Vote The Politics of Voter Suppression arrives in time to assess actual practices at the polls this fall and to reengage with debates about voter suppression tactics such as requiring specific forms of identification. Tova Andrea Wang examines the history of how U.S. election reforms have been manipulated for partisan advantage and establishes a new framework for analyzing current laws and policies. The tactics that have been employed to suppress voting in recent elections are not novel, she finds, but rather build upon the strategies used by a variety of actors going back nearly a century and a half. This continuity, along with the shift to a Republican domination of voter suppression efforts for the past fifty years, should inform what we think about reform policy today.Wang argues that activities that suppress voting are almost always illegitimate, while reforms that increase participation are nearly always legitimate. In short, use and abuse of election laws and policies to suppress votes has obvious detrimental impacts on democracy itself. Such activities are also harmful because of their direct impacts on actual election outcomes. Wang regards as beneficial any legal effort to increase the number of Americans involved in the electoral system. This includes efforts that are focused on improving voter turnout among certain populations typically regarded as supporting one party, as long as the methods and means for boosting participation are open to all. Wang identifies and describes a number of specific legitimate and positive reforms that will increase voter turnout. - Description from Syndetics
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