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.

Elections and Government: A Tenuous Connection

Elections and government: A tenuous connection

Did you know that…

  • divided partisan control of the national government has been the rule, not the exception, since 1968?
  • in approximately one-third of the states, the governor's party does not control both houses of the state legislature?
  • during the 2010 election, there were a total of 159 ballot propositions in 36 states on which voters could register their policy preferences, and in 2012, there were 174 in 38 states?
  • since 1992, Americans believe that the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses, but they also oppose cutting government spending for Social Security, Medicare, education, the environment, health, the arts, aid to farmers, antipoverty programs, and national defense?
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