Deliver the Vote: A History of Election Fraud, an American Political Tradition-1742-2004

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9780786718436: Deliver the Vote: A History of Election Fraud, an American Political Tradition-1742-2004
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If elections are the lifeblood of democracy, then the United States is a sorely ailing body politic. From ballot stuffing and intimidating voters to suppressing turnout, buying votes, and manipulating returns, Deliver the Vote is an intensive examination of the corrupt underbelly of American politics. Drawing on records of hundreds of elections from the pre-colonial era through the 2004 election, historian Tracy Campbell reveals how a persistent culture of corruption has long thrived in local, state, and national elections. Among the public figures whose stories are central to his chronicle are Boss Tweed, William Randolph Hearst, Huey Long, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and George W. Bush, as well as countless local and state politicians of all parties. Our elections are often held up as the model for the world's budding democracies to emulate. But after two of the most bitterly contested presidential elections in American history, this book shows how our democratic house has never been in proper order. Using a candid appraisal of our history as a guide, Deliver the Vote offers some surprising suggestions for a demoralized electorate to reclaim its democratic birthright.

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About the Author:

Tracy Campbell is the author of The Politics of Despair: Power and Resistance in the Tobacco Wars, and Short of the Glory: The Fall and Redemption of Edward F. Prichard, Jr., which tells the story of a brilliant politician's demise due to ballot-box stuffing. Short of the Glory was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Campbell is Associate Professor of History and Co-Director of the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* According to Campbell, buying votes, stuffing or destroying ballots, moving polling locations, transposing results, importing illegal voters from other towns or states, and suppressing, disenfranchising, and sometimes killing voters comprises a long, sordid tradition in American political culture. Despite all the changes in the mechanics of voting and the apparent safeguards, how has fraud--flagrant and subtle--persisted, Campbell asks. The answer, so Campbell argues, is a deeply embedded culture within American politics that considers cheating fully justifiable. The author indicates that those contributing to this "culture of corruption" have not been limited to cigar-chomping party bosses. Precinct captains, poll officials, and police officers were involved, as well as teachers, lawyers, and clergy. Campbell insists that his aim is to use selected examples from various eras and locales to describe how this culture has developed and survived over the years, believing that the solution is to be aware that there is a problem and to confront the truth that election fraud has been a common component in our nation's electoral history. The book's conclusions lead to the realization that election fraud is a crime that usually pays, which will come as no surprise to most readers; but the author's meticulously researched book stands without rivals as the most balanced and comprehensive on the subject. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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