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.
"Recommended. All readership levels." -
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?