Rethinking American Electoral Democracy / Edition 1

Rethinking American Electoral Democracy / Edition 1

by Matthew J. Streb
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0415961394

ISBN-13: 9780415961394

Pub. Date: 02/13/2008

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

In this critical examination of the state of the American electoral process, Matthew Streb analyzes the major debates that embroil scholars and reformers on subjects ranging from the number of elections we hold and the use of nonpartisan elections, to the presidential nominating process and campaign finance laws. Ultimately, Streb makes an argument for a less

Overview

In this critical examination of the state of the American electoral process, Matthew Streb analyzes the major debates that embroil scholars and reformers on subjects ranging from the number of elections we hold and the use of nonpartisan elections, to the presidential nominating process and campaign finance laws. Ultimately, Streb makes an argument for a less burdensome democracy, a democracy in which citizens can participate more easily. This book is designed to get students of elections and American political institutions to think critically about what it means to be democratic and how democratic the United States really is.

About the Author:
Matthew J. Streb is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northern Illinois University. His books include: The New Electoral Politics of Race (University of Alabama)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780415961394
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
02/13/2008
Series:
Controversies in Electoral Democracy and Representation Series
Edition description:
Older Edition
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

List of figures and tables     x
Preface     xi
Acknowledgments     xiii
Creating a model electoral democracy     1
Criteria for a model electoral democracy     2
A few comments     5
Overview of the book     6
Rethinking the costs of voting     9
Factors that influence voter turnout     11
"Didn't we just vote?"     11
Other barriers to voting     16
The offices we elect     26
Do we really need to vote for coroner?     27
The case of judicial elections     29
Direct democracy     44
What is the initiative process and how does it work?     45
Some misconceptions about the initiative process     47
Why the public supports the initiative proces     54
The problems with the initiative process     57
Some potential reforms     60
Recall elections     61
Rethinking the mechanics of voting     65
Ballot laws     67
Getting on the ballot     67
Candidate information on the ballot     71
The order of candidates' names on the ballot     75
Ballot design     77
Voting machines     80
Different types of voting machines     81
The problem with punch card ballots     82
The pros and cons of the remaining contenders     83
A word on Internet voting     89
So, what's the solution?     92
Rethinking national elections     95
The redistricting process     97
How does the process work?     98
The goals of redistricting     99
What should be the goals of redistricting?     108
What process best achieves the goals of redistricting?     113
Presidential primaries     116
King Caucus and the smoke-filled rooms     117
Reforms to the presidential primary process     118
The Electoral College     133
What is the Electoral College? Why do we have it?     133
Arguments in favor of the Electoral College and why they are flawed     136
The reasons for change     140
Attempts to reform the Electoral College     142
The future of the Electoral College     147
Campaign finance     151
A brief history of campaign finance reform     152
The concerns of campaign finance reformers     157
The favorite solution: publicly financed elections     160
A controversial solution     163
Conclusion: Moving toward a model electoral democracy     171
Revisiting the criteria for a model electoral democracy     171
Other improvements to American electoral democracy     175
The prospects for reform     177
Notes     179
Bibliography     201
Court cases     219
Index     221

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