Rethinking American Electoral Democracy

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-02-08
  • Publisher: Routledge
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Is the cure for the ills of democracy more democracy? Is it possible to have too much democracy in a well-functioning government? What should a model electoral democracy look like? In this critical examination of the state of 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. Part of the Controversies in Electoral Democracy and Representation series, edited by Matthew J. Streb. Matthew J. Streb is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northern Illinois University. He is the author The New Electoral Politics of Race , and the editor or co-editor of five other books including Running for Judge .

Table of Contents

List of figures and tablesp. x
Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Creating a model electoral democracyp. 1
Criteria for a model electoral democracyp. 2
A few commentsp. 5
Overview of the bookp. 6
Rethinking the costs of votingp. 9
Factors that influence voter turnoutp. 11
"Didn't we just vote?"p. 11
Other barriers to votingp. 16
The offices we electp. 26
Do we really need to vote for coroner?p. 27
The case of judicial electionsp. 29
Direct democracyp. 44
What is the initiative process and how does it work?p. 45
Some misconceptions about the initiative processp. 47
Why the public supports the initiative processp. 54
The problems with the initiative processp. 57
Some potential reformsp. 60
Recall electionsp. 61
Rethinking the mechanics of votingp. 65
Ballot lawsp. 67
Getting on the ballotp. 67
Candidate information on the ballotp. 71
The order of candidates' names on the ballotp. 75
Ballot designp. 77
Voting machinesp. 80
Different types of voting machinesp. 81
The problem with punch card ballotsp. 82
The pros and cons of the remaining contendersp. 83
A word on Internet votingp. 89
So, what's the solution?p. 92
Rethinking national electionsp. 95
The redistricting processp. 97
How does the process work?p. 98
The goals of redistrictingp. 99
What should be the goals of redistricting?p. 108
What process best achieves the goals of redistricting?p. 113
Presidential primariesp. 116
King Caucus and the smoke-filled roomsp. 117
Reforms to the presidential primary processp. 118
The Electoral Collegep. 133
What is the Electoral College? Why do we have it?p. 133
Arguments in favor of the Electoral College and why they are flawedp. 136
The reasons for changep. 140
Attempts to reform the Electoral Collegep. 142
The future of the Electoral Collegep. 147
Campaign financep. 151
A brief history of campaign finance reformp. 152
The concerns of campaign finance reformersp. 157
The favorite solution: publicly financed electionsp. 160
A controversial solutionp. 163
Conclusion: Moving toward a model electoral democracyp. 171
Revisiting the criteria for a model electoral democracyp. 171
Other improvements to American electoral democracyp. 175
The prospects for reformp. 177
Notesp. 179
Bibliographyp. 201
Court casesp. 219
Indexp. 221
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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