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.

How Representative Are American Elections?

How representative are American elections?

Did you know that …

  • the constitutional system was designed to protect the rights of minorities, and the electoral system has evolved to reflect the influence of majorities (or at least pluralities)?
  • drawing the shape of a legislative district to advance the party in power is an old American tradition that goes back more than two hundred years?
  • for most of U.S. history, the Supreme Court regarded the drafting of legislative districts as a political, not a judicial, issue and thus stayed away from this type of representational question?
  • the redrafting of congressional districts to gain more representation for African American and Hispanic voters in the 1990s contributed to increasing the number of conservative Republican members of Congress?
  • most democracies automatically ...
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