- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
Currently out of stock.
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Reforming the Electoral Process in America: Toward More Democracy in the 21st Centuryby Brian L. Fife
Synopses & Reviews
Quick-fix plans to "restore democracy" are a dime a dozen. Happily, Reforming the Electoral Process in America: Toward More Democracy in the 21st Century offers a more nuanced approach, emphasizing the value of civic engagement in a democratic society.
Author Brian L. Fife situates our current plight in the context of the growth of democracy, from the Founding Fathers through the Jackson era, the enfranchisement of blacks after the Civil War, women's suffrage, and the Voting Rights Act of the 1960s. He reflects on the work of the Framers as it pertains to voting and elections, compares voting laws and voter turnout in the various states, and offers an analysis of the impact of money in American elections. Ultimately, Fife proposes a blueprint for reform that includes national same-day voter registration, elimination of punch card and mechanical voting machines, reconsideration of felons' voting rights, regional primaries, and the abolition of the Electoral College.
Book News Annotation:
Fife (public affairs, Indiana U.-Purdue U.) explores the history and current status of electoral reform in the United States. Beginning with a discussion of the Articles of Confederation, he takes the reader through the history of electoral reform, covering such topics as the 15th, 19th, and 26th Amendments to the Constitution; the Poll Tax; and key legislation such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002. He then addresses electoral law in the states and federalism. Voter turnout numbers are analyzed for presidential and midterm elections and then compared to other countries. Discussion then turns to the constitutional purpose of the Electoral College and the problematic role of money in presidential and congressional elections in the United States. Finally, he proposes his own slate of reform initiatives, which includes national same-day voter registration, reconsideration of felons' voting rights, regional primaries, and the abolition of the Electoral College. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Calling for increased civic engagement, this book makes a compelling case for reforms that will democratize American elections and provide more power to the people.
• Offers a history of electoral reform efforts in the United States
• Compares current state election laws and voter turnout rates, including the 2008 national elections
• Provides a blueprint for reform with specific proposals to improve the way elections are conducted in the United States
• Advances ways to increase civic engagement and voting at all levels, not just in federal elections
The first decade of the 21st century has been one of the most contentious in the history of American participatory democracy, with the acrimonious 2000 presidential election, complaints about the 2004 election, arguments over "voter I.D." laws, and a bitterly-contested fight over the 2008 Democratic nomination. Is this simply the price of democracy or could the process function more smoothly?
What Our Readers Are Saying