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.

Popular Base of American Electoral Politics

Popular Base of American Electoral Politics

Popular base of American electoral politics

Did you know that …

  • fewer than one-fifth of adults living in the United States were eligible to vote in the first election held under the Constitution?
  • by 1800, about one-third of those eligible actually voted—practically all of them adult white males?
  • Congress almost refused to allow Wyoming to enter the Union in 1890 because its state constitution allowed women to vote?
  • the United States has a lower rate of voting than do most European democracies?
  • despite the fact that most Americans believe that voting is a civic responsibility, 15 percent report that they vote only part of the time, seldom, or not at all?
  • about one quarter of the eligible U. S. population is not registered to vote?
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