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1 Burnside American Studies- Politics

Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression

by

Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression Cover

ISBN13: 9780393061598
ISBN10: 0393061590
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Spencer Overton attacks the least-inspected area of our democracy: partisan control of the ballot box.

While politicians spew shallow sound bites that describe a "free" American people who govern themselves by selecting their representatives, in reality politicians from both parties maintain control by selecting specific voters. Incumbent politicians control thousands of election practices and bureaucratic hurdles that determine who votes and how their votes are counted, including the location of election-district boundaries, the number of booths at urban polling places, and English-only ballots. Spencer Overton uses real-life stories to show how these seemingly insignificant practices channel political power and determine policies on war, schools, clean air, and other issues that shape our lives. He exposes the pressure points in this Orwellian system and provides strategies toward restoring self-government, including removing redistricting power from self-interested partisans and renewing parts of the Voting Rights Act that expire in 2007. Overton's compelling case is vital to the future of our democracy.

Review:

"Overton takes a wonky but worthy look at the 'matrix' of 'thousands of election regulations and practices' that can discourage — if not completely suppress — citizens from voting or make their votes count less. A law professor and election reform activist, Overton makes concrete proposals for restoring power to voters. Redistricting, he says, is often conducted in a partisan manner; Overton recommends that the United States assign the responsibility to an independent commission. He calls for federal standards for counting ballots and the provision of voting machines. The much-debated Voting Rights Act, Overton argues, remains vital, though those invoking it should more carefully analyze 'practices that disadvantage voters of color.' In answer to those bilingual education opponents who might withhold 'democracy from Americans with limited English skills,' he also argues that bilingual ballots would 'advance citizen engagement.' Overton warns that a photo ID requirement for voting would exclude those (e.g., the poor, many people of color) who don't have driver's licenses. Citing relatively low voter turnout and lack of centralized election oversight, the author notes how the United States 'deviates from democratic norms' of other established democracies, concluding with profiles of activists to inspire the citizens' movement needed to enact the sensible reforms he advocates. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Overton uses real-life stories to show how seemingly insignificant factors--such as how many booths are at polling sites and how district boundaries are drawn--channel political power and determine policies on war, schools, clean air, and other life-affecting issues.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Sheri , June 18, 2006 (view all comments by Sheri )
I highly recommend this powerful book! American voters are inundated with superficial corporate media reports that skim the surface of complex issues like the health of American democracy, our elections and immigration.

Spencer Overton's highly readable 'Stealing Democracy' explores what is really going on behind the curtains of our American democracy in our local communities, the state and national level. And it is chilling. But it is the kind of frank discussion that the American public needs to read so that we will be in a better position to get involved as citizens and exert a truer ownership over our own government that has so much daily influence on our lives.

I particularly appreciated how Professor Overton looks back at the historical roots of voter suppression in our American political system dating back to the early 1800s. The more things change, the more they stay the same: He examines gerry-mandering, the English-only Movement, voter registration purging, Voter ID legislation, and all the other ways that politicians continue to try to discourage those people that aren't inclined to vote for them to stay home on Election Day.

Professor Overton also looks at the chilling ways in which the venerable Voting Rights Act of 1965 is currently under attack by the right wing.

Today it is obvious to whomever is paying attention that there is a sustained effort to turn the clock way back on voter enfranchisement for the elderly, the poor, people of color and the handicapped - and American Democracy for ALL Americans right along with it!

Enlighten yourself on the new politics of voter suppression and how we can stop it: Read this book and recommend it to your friends as well!
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(11 of 18 readers found this comment helpful)
J. Edwards, June 1, 2006 (view all comments by J. Edwards)
Stealing Democracy is critical reading for everyone who believes in America. Because voting is arguably our single most important civic responsibility, this book is a vital tool in the fight for true democracy in America. Overton does an excellent job of describing and analyzing the current state of voting in America. The book is concise and well written. Overton uses real world examples of voter fraud and suppression to illustrate the danger to our very way of electing officials. Stealing Democracy does an outstanding job of tying several seemingly convoluted topics together in a seamless and entertaining text. Rather than just sounding the horn for doomsday for American democracy, Overton concludes with solutions and charges for those who care about the direction in which we are traveling. This book is a must read for all American regardless of party, class, race or gender.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(11 of 22 readers found this comment helpful)
J. Edwards, June 1, 2006 (view all comments by J. Edwards)
Stealing Democracy is critical reading for everyone who believes in America. Because voting is arguably our single most important civic responsibility, this book is a vital tool in the fight for true democracy in America. Overton does an excellent job of describing and analyzing the current state of voting in America. The book is concise and well written. Overton uses real world examples of voter fraud and suppression to illustrate the danger to our very way of electing officials. Stealing Democracy does an outstanding job of tying several seemingly convoluted topics together in a seamless and entertaining text. Rather than just sounding the horn of doomsday for American democracy, Overton concludes with solutions and charges for those who care about the direction in which we are traveling. This book is a must read for all Americans regardless of party, class, race or gender.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(8 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780393061598
Author:
Overton, Spencer
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
General
Subject:
Elections
Subject:
Democracy
Subject:
Political Process - Elections
Subject:
Government - U.S. Government
Subject:
Political Ideologies - Conservatism & Liberalism
Subject:
Voting -- United States.
Subject:
United States Politics and government.
Subject:
Politics - General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20060631
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.36x6.40x.86 in. .79 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics
Young Adult » General

Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression Used Hardcover
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$3.50 In Stock
Product details 224 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393061598 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Overton takes a wonky but worthy look at the 'matrix' of 'thousands of election regulations and practices' that can discourage — if not completely suppress — citizens from voting or make their votes count less. A law professor and election reform activist, Overton makes concrete proposals for restoring power to voters. Redistricting, he says, is often conducted in a partisan manner; Overton recommends that the United States assign the responsibility to an independent commission. He calls for federal standards for counting ballots and the provision of voting machines. The much-debated Voting Rights Act, Overton argues, remains vital, though those invoking it should more carefully analyze 'practices that disadvantage voters of color.' In answer to those bilingual education opponents who might withhold 'democracy from Americans with limited English skills,' he also argues that bilingual ballots would 'advance citizen engagement.' Overton warns that a photo ID requirement for voting would exclude those (e.g., the poor, many people of color) who don't have driver's licenses. Citing relatively low voter turnout and lack of centralized election oversight, the author notes how the United States 'deviates from democratic norms' of other established democracies, concluding with profiles of activists to inspire the citizens' movement needed to enact the sensible reforms he advocates. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Overton uses real-life stories to show how seemingly insignificant factors--such as how many booths are at polling sites and how district boundaries are drawn--channel political power and determine policies on war, schools, clean air, and other life-affecting issues.
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