Steal This Vote: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America

Andrew Gumbel, Author . Nation $15.95 (362p) ISBN 978-1-56025-676-2

In a riveting and frightening account, Gumbel, U.S. correspondent for Britain's Independent , traces election fraud in America from the 18th century to the present, spotlighting the Hayes-Tilden election of 1876, vote buying in the Gilded Age and the history of black disenfranchisement in the post-Reconstruction South. The last 100 pages are devoted to the elections of 2000 and 2004. Gumbel rehearses the Florida mess and argues that those who care about voting rights should be terrified by Justice Scalia's argument in Bush v. Gore that the Constitution doesn't per se guarantee a right of suffrage. Gumbel shows that the confusion (at best) and cheating (at worst) that went on in Florida are not unusual, describing numerous county and state elections plagued with problems: registered voters purged from the rolls; queues at polling places so long that would-be voters gave up; and confusing ballots. Who are the villains? Not just the Republicans; he shows Democrats equally willing to play dirty. This book is sure to be controversial, and if it garners media attention, that's all for the good, for the issues Gumbel so winningly addresses are crucial to the future of democracy. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 06/20/2005
Release date: 07/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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