Electoral Dysfunction: A Survival Manual for American Voters

Electoral Dysfunction: A Survival Manual for American Voters


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Electoral Dysfunction: A Survival Manual for American Voters by Victoria Bassetti

Imagine a country where the right to vote is not guaranteed by the Constitution, where the candidate with the most votes loses, and where paperwork requirements and bureaucratic bungling disenfranchise millions. You’re living in it. If the consequences weren’t so serious, it would be funny.

An eye-opening, fact-filled companion to the forthcoming PBS documentary starring political satirist and commentator Mo Rocca, Electoral Dysfunction illuminates a broad array of issues, including the Founding Fathers’ decision to omit the right to vote from the Constitution—and the legal system’s patchwork response to this omission; the battle over voter ID, voter impersonation, and voter fraud; the foul-ups that plague Election Day, from ballot design to contested recounts; the role of partisan officials in running elections; and the anti-democratic origins and impact of the Electoral College. The book concludes with a prescription for a healthy voting system by Heather Smith, president of Rock the Vote.

Published in the run-up to the 2012 election, Electoral Dysfunction is for readers across the political spectrum who want their votes to count.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595588128
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 09/18/2012
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Victoria Bassetti has worked with legislative and judicial bodies of the U.S. government, including serving as chief counsel/staff director to a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. She has been active in numerous political campaigns and participates regularly in Election Day voter-protection efforts. Electoral Dysfunction is directed by Bennett Singer, Leslie D. Farrell, and David Deschamps, whose credits include multiple Emmy, Peabody, and duPont-Columbia awards.

Table of Contents

Foreword Mo Rocca ix

Introduction xv

Chapter 1 In Search of the Right to Vote

Do Americans Really Have the Right to Vote? 1

Chapter 2 The Epic Battle for the Vote

Who Gets to Vote in America and the Quest for Universal Suffrage 17

Chapter 3 To Vote or Not to Vote

Who Votes and Why 49

Chapter 4 The Mystic Agency of the Electoral College

The Bewildering Way America Elects Its Presidents 75

Chapter 5 A Ramshackle House

The Convoluted and Misunderstood Election System 101

Chapter 6 The Games We Play

The Partisan Fight over Voting 143

Afterword Heather Smith 183

Appendix A Constitutional Provisions Relating to Voting 193

Appendix B Timeline of Major Events in American Voting 199

Appendix C Illustrations 205

Appendix D Additional Resources 221

Acknowledgments 225

Select Bibliography 227

Index 249

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From the Publisher

"Crisply written, irreverent yet engaged. . . . A lively, witty survey of the numerous ailments that afflict the American electoral system." —-Alexander Keyssar

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Electoral Dysfunction: A Survival Manual for American Voters 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read some of it and came to conclusion that when someone says bipartisan or nonpartisan, they mean to the left. Victoria writes well, but if you pay attention to a more detailed explanation on the voter id, she takes sides and phrases an opinion it would be discouraging the voters more aka voter suppression, basically saying proving that you are eligible to vote is discouraging to the voters according to her. She says that having to use Voter ID, which by the way is a regular ID that you need in many aspects of most people's lives, is a voter suppression. She claims that Republicans want voter ID and Democrats call it voter suppression and fight it, but yet she takes the side of discouraged voters when it comes to proving you are eligible and not fraudulent. She also takes it upon herself to explain some articles of our constitution, which she does well, but yet presenting the side of voting being phrased to suppress those who were slaves in some states, rather than the fact the the voting was phrased indirectly for south to not get the votes needed and therefore try to abolish the slavery from the north. If she was in fact bipartisan or nonpartisan, she would have known to properly explain those several items that I mentioned here. This book fails to be bipartisan, but yet claims to be. Hypocritical is more like it, but well written as far as pretending to be bipartisan or nonpartisan. If you are looking for explanation on the voting process, she does relatively good job, but if you think that this is an open minded opinion without taking sides, you would be mistaken and therefore somewhat swayed to one sided direction of the political spectrum.