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Rethinking the Vote

The Politics and Prospects of American Election Reform

Edited by Ann N. Crigler, Marion R. Just, and Edward J. McCaffery

Publication Date - 07 August 2003

ISBN: 9780195159851

288 pages
6-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches


Maintaining the perception of fairness and equal access during elections assures the legitimacy of a democratic system. The U.S. in particular prides itself on its open and honest voting laws and procedures. However, the extraordinary closeness of the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore triggered a rare scrutiny of the election process. This highly disputed contest revealed problems with ballot design and order; access to the polls; voting machines; absentee, military, and overseas ballots; election laws and the Electoral College; and judicial oversight of the voting process. It brought to light issues regarding political polling in general, exit polls in particular, media projections and reporting, and even the election night "calling" of outcomes.
Rethinking the Vote: The Politics and Prospects of American Election Reform centers on what can and should be learned about the processes of voting. Using the 2000 presidential election as a starting point, this collection of essays puts forth a constructive effort to learn from what transpired and to offer potential solutions for the future. Featuring work by leading academics and participants in the real-world drama of the 2000 election, it examines the legal, political, and institutional problems of administering elections in the U.S. The book begins and ends with questions about the prospects and possibilities for reform. It takes a consistently pragmatic approach that recognizes both the constraints on and the opportunities for change in America's elaborate constitutional and political structures. Providing a useful mix of quantitative and qualitative data, Rethinking the Vote is ideal for undergraduate courses in American politics, American elections, public opinion and voting behavior, American political thought, campaigns and elections, presidential politics, and media and politics.


"This is a fine collection of articles dealing with election reform. The book has academic depth, but also many practical suggestions. The variety of perspectives and the distinction of the authors are notable."--Richard A. Posner, Judge, United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and University of Chicago Law School

"The strong interdisciplinary and comparative focus of Rethinking the Vote guarantees that it will influence scholarship in a variety of fields and policy at all levels of government. The timeliness of its subject matter and excellent selection of topics ensure that it will contribute not only to academic scholarship, but it will also shape the views of legislators and editorial writers and attract the interest of citizens trying to put the 2000 election in a larger context."--Elizabeth Garrett, University of Chicago

Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: A Tale of Two Democracies, Edward J. McCaffery, Ann N. Crigler, and Marion R. Just
    I. Problems That Might Need to Be Fixed
    2. Election Reform: The U.S. News Media's Response to the Mistakes Of Election 2000, Kathleen A. Frankovic
    3. Counting Ballots and the 2000 Election: What Went Wrong?, R. Michael Alvarez, D.E. "Betsy" Sinclair, and Catherine H. Wilson
    4. An Unrecognized Need for Ballot Reform: The Effects of Candidate Name Order on Election Outcomes, Jon A. Krosnick, Joanne M. Miller, and Michael P. Tichy
    5. Empirically Evaluating the Electoral College, Andrew Gelman, Jonathan N. Katz, and Gary King
    II. Ways to Fix the Problems
    6. Bush v. Gore and Federalism, Erwin Chemerinsky
    7. Federal Election Authority: Jurisdiction and Mandates, Trevor Potter and Marianne Holt Viray
    8. Congressional Compromise on Election Reform: A Look Backward and Forward, Jeb Barnes
    9. Do Institutions Matter? The Consequences of Electoral Reform for Political Participation, Pippa Norris
    III. Should the Problems be Fixed?
    10. Cleavage and Consensus: The Public and Election Reform, Ann N. Crigler, Marion R. Just, and Tami Buhr
    11. Why Electoral Reform Has Failed: If You Build It, Will They Come?, Michael W. Traugott
    12. After the Storm: The Uses, Normative Implications and Unintended Consequences of Voting Reform Research in Post-Bush v. Gore Equal Protection Challenges, Richard L. Hansen
    13. A Tale of Two Worlds, Susan Estrich
    14. The Paradox of Mass Democracy, Daniel R. Ortiz
    15. Postscript: Keeping Hope Alive, Edward J. McCaffery, Marion R. Just, and Ann N. Crigler
    Court Cases
    Surveys and Polls
    Author Index
    Subject Index

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