Fair and Effective Representation?

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9780847692125: Fair and Effective Representation?
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Two experts on political representation, voting rights, and the election process debate the most pertinent issues of electoral reform and assess them in the context of the Founders' vision of representation and minority rights. Mark E. Rush and Richard L. Engstrom discuss the promises and pitfalls of electoral reform--specifically, the merits of converting from the traditional single-member district to some form of proportional representation. The authors examine the shortcomings of the existing methods of elections (such as gerrymandering, low turnout, voter apathy, and underrepresentation of minorities and women), debate the merits of converting to proportional representation, ask whether it would address the imperfections of the current system, and investigate the extent to which proportional representation adheres to the Founders' (particularly Madison's) plan for representation. With an introduction by esteemed political scientist Bruce E. Cain, this is an essential text for courses in voting rights and behavior, elections, and American political thought.

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About the Author:

Mark E. Rush is associate professor of politics at Washington and Lee University. He is author of Does Redistricting Make a Difference? (Johns Hopkins) and the editor of Voting Rights and Redistricting in the United States. Richard L. Engstrom is professor of political science at the University of New Orleans. Bruce E. Cain is professor of political science at University of California, Berkeley.

Review:

Given the breadth and clear level of scholarship exhibited in the writing of the book, it should be one of the first reading assignments for students studying representation, redistricting, minority politics, voting rights, political behavior, elections,and political thought. In addition, this text should be required reading for every state legislator, member of Congress, employee of the Attorney General's Office, and anyone seeking knowledge of the U.S. political systemmmm (The American Review Of Politics)

The Rush-Engstrom offering is a valuable contribution to the literature on minority voting rights. . . . Public officials, advocacy groups, and citizens alike should read this book as the post-2000 reapportionment process unfolds. It provides resources to evaluate past trends, contemporary procedures, and future possibilities. (The Law And Politics Book Review)

Useful for general collections and undergraduate collections. (Choice)

For those interested in, and especially those teaching, current issues in US politics this will be a useful book. (The Journal Of Legislative Studies)

In the United States we elect most of our representatives in winner-take-all elections in which the candidate with the most votes wins. Thus, in legislative elections, a party whose candidates get a bare plurality--less than half of the vote--could end up winning all the seats. In contrast, most other democracies in the world use election methods in which the overall seats shares of each party are guaranteed to be roughly proportional to the aggregate votes that each party's candidates get. Rush and Engstrom debate the merits of winner-take-all and proportional elections in a balanced, reasoned and comprehensive fashion. Those who read this book will have learned a lot about electoral system reform and will be in a position to intelligently judge the major alternatives for themselves. (Grofman, Bernard)

Given the breadth and clear level of scholarship exhibited in the writing of the book, it should be one of the first reading assignments for students studying representation, redistricting, minority politics, voting rights, political behavior, elections, and political thought. In addition, this text should be required reading for every state legislator, member of Congress, employee of the Attorney General's Office, and anyone seeking knowledge of the U.S. political system (The American Review Of Politics)

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