Since at least 1619, with the vote for the Virginia House of Burgesses, Americans have relied on elections to instantiate the nation's commitment to abstract principles of self-government. As the electoral process in the United States has evolved over the course of nearly four centuries, it is worthwhile to analyze developments in the context of theories, values, institutions, and procedures. In the United States, changes in basic political theory (that is, revised conceptions of representation) parallel reassessments of core values (that is, the expansion of the franchise through the Fifteenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-Fourth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments to the federal Constitution). In addition, developments in political institutions (that is, the growth of political parties) and adjustments in the procedures of recording the vote (that is, the movement ...

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