The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown

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Overview

In 2000, just a few hundred votes out of millions cast in the state of Florida separated Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush from his Democratic opponent, Al Gore. The outcome of the election rested on Florida's 25 electoral votes, and legal wrangling continued for 36 days. Then, abruptly, one of the most controversial Supreme Court decisions in U.S. history, Bush v. Gore, cut short the battle. Since the Florida debacle we have witnessed a partisan war over election rules. Election litigation has skyrocketed, and election time brings out inevitable accusations by political partisans of voter fraud and voter suppression. These allegations have shaken public confidence, as campaigns deploy “armies of lawyers” and the partisan press revs up when elections are expected to be close and the stakes are high.

Richard L. Hasen, a respected authority on election law, chronicles and analyzes the battles over election rules from 2000 to the present. From a nonpartisan standpoint he explores the rising number of election-related lawsuits and charges of voter fraud as well as the decline of public confidence in fair results. He explains why future election disputes will be worse than previous ones—more acrimonious, more distorted by unsubstantiated allegations, and amplified by social media. No reader will fail to conclude with Hasen that election reform is an urgent priority, one that demands the attention of conscientious citizens and their elected representatives.

Also available: The Fraudulent Fraud Squad, an e-excerpt from The Voting Wars
Released February 2012   9780300187489   $1.99

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his well-drawn analysis, UC-Irvine law and political science professor Hasen considers unwieldy procedures, conflicting state laws, politically motivated election challenges, and legal follies that undermine public confidence in the voting process. Election integrity is fundamental to democratic government, Hasen observes, and at risk if citizens lose faith in it. The disputed Bush-Gore election results of 2000 hang over this book like a bad chad. As Hasen writes, “Florida mainly taught political operatives the benefits of manipulating the rules, controlling election machinery, and litigating early and often.” Hasen reviews several ugly elections that didn’t end on Election Day, notably the 2008 Coleman-Franken Senate race in Minnesota, illustrated in the book with a “Lizard People” write-in ballot. Hasen focuses on the GOP attack machine he calls the “Fraudulent Fraud Squad” and its push for voter ID laws, while sidestepping voter registration fraud and waffling on Democratic claims of voter suppression.Hasen’s timely and factually rich account merits attention from jurists, policy specialists, and government reformers of all political stripes. (Aug.)
New York Times

“Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, and one of the nation’s foremost experts on election law, has published a preview of a new book with a sobering reminder for those of us who oppose the growing body of laws requiring identification in order to vote. . . Having established a rare level of sobriety on a very fraught subject, Mr. Hasen makes it clear that he is still very much opposed to these laws.”—David Firestone, New York Times, The Loyal Opposition blog

— David Firestone

Norman J. Ornstein
"Nobody knows more about elections and election law than Rick Hasen, and nobody writes more clearly about their complexities. The Voting Wars is a straightforward, clear-headed unbiased account of our flawed system, the multiple damaging controversies we have incurred as a consequence, the polarization that has both caused the problems and been exacerbated by them, and the risky path ahead. What a timely and important book!"—Norman J. Ornstein, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
Trevor Potter
"Hasen has done a masterful job of describing the post-Florida 2000 battles over election registration, voting, and vote-counting. This book is a compelling read, and guide to the partisan battleground aptly titled The Voting Wars. Unfortunately, as Hasen explains, our election system is still precariously positioned, needing only one more bad series of events to create the next Presidential election crisis."—Trevor Potter, Former Commissioner and Chair, Federal Election Commission, and General Counsel, McCain for President, 2000 and 2008
Thomas E. Mann
"Hasen is a national treasure to students and practitioners of election law. His Voting Wars is a colorful, trenchant, fair-minded and powerfully-argued account of how partisanship and localism continue to haunt the administration of American elections more than a decade after Bush v. Gore and threaten yet another election meltdown."—Thomas E. Mann, W. Averell Harriman Chair and Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
Alexander Keyssar
The Voting Wars is a spirited, and deeply disturbing, chronicle of the nonstop partisan skirmishing over voting rights, procedures, and laws that has become a pervasive presence in American politics since the disputed 2000 election. It would be difficult to read Hasen’s informed and fair-minded account and not worry about the future of American democracy.”—Alexander Keyssar, author of The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States
Kirkus Reviews
Loyola Law School professor Hasen (The Supreme Court and Election Law, 2003, etc.) keeps us current as he catalogs the old horrors and contests and new laws involved in the U.S. election process. Since the 2000 election, the 24-hour news cycle and computer-driven results have caused more contested elections than ever before. Especially notable are the Minnesota Senate race of 2008 and Wisconsin's Supreme Court elections in 2011. The Wisconsin election hinged on the returns that the head election official had forgotten on her personal laptop and a local elections board official who didn't "understand anything about computers." Minnesota's Coleman v. Franken took nine months to resolve, but as the author compares it to Florida in 2000, he notes that Minnesota's superior handling was due to bipartisanship and transparency as well as the "niceness factor." The cries of voter fraud that accompany every election rarely end in convictions, and Hasen points out that voter fraud is not worth the effort since the advent of the secret ballot. Selling votes only works with absentee ballots; the problem is that many of those ballots are never even counted. Republican demands for fraud prosecution that resulted in the firing of nine sttorneys brought attention to the partisan drive to control voting. The new voter ID laws in multiple states show just how far that control extends. An astute but not terribly encouraging outline of the partisanship of election boards and the jockeying for power among local, state and federal officials.
Heather Gerken
"This is a Stephen King novel for election junkies.  No one has a better eye for the next big thing in election law than Rick Hasen.  The Voting Wars provides an engaging, highly readable guide to the thrill ride we call election season."—Heather Gerken, author of The Democracy Index:  Why Our Election System is Failing and How to Fix It
Bruce Cain
"One of the most disturbing recent US political developments is the rapid growth of election administration litigation.  Professor Hasen has masterfully described this trend, showing how political parties seek to gain advantage through election recounts, voter id laws, absentee ballot procedures, and the like. Scholars, journalists and interested citizens will benefit from Hasen's insightful overview of this struggle and the potential for even more election related controversy and litigation in the future.”—Bruce Cain, Heller Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley  
Dahlia Lithwick
"Just in time for the election, Rick Hasen brings this essential reminder of all the lessons never learned after Bush v. Gore. If we don't course-correct our partisan voting systems and ever more partisan efforts to remedy them, Hasen reminds us that we are looking into the face of a democratic disaster."—Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Legal Correspondent, Slate magazine
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300182033
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 8/14/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 955,082
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard L. Hasen is Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science, University of California, Irvine School of Law. He lives in Studio City, CA.

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    Posted March 16, 2013

    Voting!

    Here is where votes will be held. Here is the first voting session:

    Which format of RP do you like better?

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