"This new volume contains all the information a reader needs to understand the American election process and its political parties. This complete A-to-Z reference guide covers the people, events, and terms involved in the electoral process. It also provides a history of elections in the United States, focusing primarily on presidential elections." Entries include: absentee voting, blue states, campaign ethics, dark-horse candidate, dirty campaign tricks, election fraud, Electoral College, fund-raising, Internet voting, League of Women Voters, Lincoln-Douglas debates, machine politics, Populist Party, recall, Republican Party, Super Tuesday, voter turnout, and wedge issues.
Essays varying from several paragraphs to about two pages, studded with internal cross-references and made even more accessible through an analytical index, treat events ("presidential election 1860"), associations ("Know-Nothing Party"), methods ("straight-ticket voting"), concepts ("suffrage"), case law ("Baker vs. Carr"), and documents ("Twenty-third Amendment"). Each article is signed and references one to three sources, most of which are books or articles with only the rare appearance of an Internet resource. As is too often the case with The Facts on File Library of American History series, both coverage and editing in this volume are uneven, creating a less-than-satisfactory reference tool. The article "voting requirements," for instance, briefly discusses the history of women's suffrage and the extension of suffrage to African American citizens, but it omits any information about changes in age requirements. The researcher needs to refer to the index at that same term "voting requirements" to find that information is in the article titled "electorate." Although there are some archival photos and reproductions included that adequately illustrate articles to which they are attached, their print quality is not crisp. At a time when most potential users of this volume are at least as likely to use the Web and database resources to research relevant topics, the quality of a print source must be higher than this one offers in order to warrant investment and invite good use.