The 2012 election is over, but the debate over the fairness and accuracy of our electoral system continues. The courts are dealing with the alleged discriminatory impact of voter ID requirements on minority voters; privacy and vote manipulation are concerns as political campaigns utilize new technology to target voters; the news media are contending with harsh public criticism of their elections coverage; the campaign finance floodgates were opened with vast resources spent on negative advertising; and the Electoral College continues to undermine a national, democratic electoral system—Is this any way to run a democratic election?

This fully updated fifth edition answers that important question by looking at both recent events and recent scholarship focused on the democratic electoral process, including new data and timely illustrations from the 2012 elections.

Democratic Elections: What's the Problem?

Democratic Elections: What's the Problem?

Democratic elections: What's the problem?

Did you know that …

  • a majority of the voting-age population does not vote in most elections in the United States?
  • Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, when first elected president, each received the votes of only about one quarter of those eligible to vote; in his sizable electoral victory, Barack Obama received the votes of 33 percent of those eligible and 30 percent of voting-age adults in 2008 and 29.6 percent and 27 percent, respectively, in 2012?
  • most members of Congress have no effective opposition in running for renomination, and some have no opponents in the general election?
  • since 1964, more than 90 percent of members of the House of Representatives and 80 percent of the Senate have been ...
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