The hotly disputed election of 2000 roused a generally complacent electorate to recognize the erosion of a basic rite of citizenship many had long taken for granted: the exercise of their right to vote. Since then, controversial technology for casting and counting ballots, as well as numerous initiatives intended to increase voter participation (or, in the case of voter identification laws, arguably to restrict it), have ensured that possible flaws in our electoral system are never far from public consciousness. We perceive these troubling developments as new, yet from the colonial period onward, our history has been marked by fierce political battles over who is entitled to vote and how.
With over 100 documents, this book presents and analyzes the documentary record of this ongoing struggle. Organized chronologically, this volume traces the legislative evolution of the franchise in America, as well as the significant federal and state court decisions that interpret the law to either extend or contract access to the vote. In each chapter a distinctive section offers examples of disputed elections (presidential and congressional) and the reform proposals that resulted, such as proposed constitutional amendments to eliminate the Electoral College.
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