Cover image for One person, no vote : how voter suppression is destroying our democracy
One person, no vote : how voter suppression is destroying our democracy
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xi, 271 pages ; 25 cm


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Book 324.6208 AND 0 1

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From the New York Times bestselling author of White Rage , the startling history of voter suppression in America, from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to the present-day rise of legislated voter discrimination, and the forces that are fighting back.
In her New York Times bestselling White Rage , Carol Anderson laid bare an insidious history of policies that have systematically aimed at impeding black progress in America, from 1865 to our combustible present. With One Person, No Vote , she chronicles a related history- the rollbacks to African American participation in the democratic vote since the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which hindered politicians in racist counties and states from diminishing the electoral strength of African Americans and Latinos at the polls. While the VRA has required vigilant safeguarding against the efforts of the GOP, its blanket protections remained in effect until 2013, when the Shelby County Supreme Court decision effectively stripped it, allowing states, counties, and municipalities with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice.

Focusing on the aftermath of the Shelby ruling, Anderson follows an astonishing series of undemocratic electoral actions fueled by Republican-sponsored hysteria about massive voter fraud. With her combination of gripping storytelling and enlightening description she explains how each method of voter suppression works, from photo ID requirements to gerrymandering to poll closures. And with vivid characters, she explores the resistance- the organizing, activism, and court battles to restore the basic right to vote to all Americans.
The story of government-dictated racial discrimination is unfolding before our very eyes, as more and more states adopt voter suppression laws. As the nation gears up for the 2018 mid-term elections, One Person, No Vote , and its incredible history of affronts to the democratic process, carries the fierce urgency of now.

Author Notes

Carol Anderson is the Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair of African American Studies at Emory University. She is the author of White Rage , which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, Bourgeois Radicals, and Eyes Off the Prize . She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this insightful study, Anderson (White Rage), Charles Howard Candler Professor of African-American studies at Emory University, scrupulously details the history of racially and politically motivated disenfranchisement in the United States. She focuses on four tactics that are currently harming the principle of "one person, one vote" enshrined by the Supreme Court in Baker v. Carr: voter identification laws, voter roll purges, gerrymandering, and "starving minority precincts of resources to create untenable conditions at the polls." Keenly aware of both legal and social barriers to voting (such as lack of access to transportation, the internet, or wheelchair ramps), Anderson lays out in clear terms-often aided by damning, surprisingly blunt quotations from the perpetrators-how systems for disenfranchisement have been conceived, implemented, and defended. She illustrates their effects using relevant numbers and other statistics: for example, black Alabama households are three times more likely than white ones not to have access to a car, in a state where public transit is virtually nonexistent. She also takes a deep look at the multipronged, successful effort to restore black voters' access to the polls to defeat Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore in 2017, suggesting this as a model for future change. Anderson brings home that the current state of voting rights in parts of the U.S. is reminiscent of the height of Jim Crow. Anyone interested in American democracy or how equality can be not only legislated but realized will find this account illuminating and clarifying. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

A ripped-from-the-headlines book offering copious evidence of the Republican Party's relentless efforts to strip eligible voters of their right to cast ballots.After providing a look back at voter suppression throughout the history of the United States, Anderson (African-American Studies/Emory Univ.)who won the National Book Critics Circle Award for White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide (2016), her top-notch dissection of racial issues in Americafocuses on the years since 2013, when elected Republicans in the majority of states and in Congress ratcheted up their anti-democracy, racist campaign to reduce the number of black voters. The author begins by delineating the requirements imposed on voter identification at polling places. In general, the requirement to have a specific government-issued ID with an up-to-date photograph hits blacks and low-income individuals the hardest, and election officials specifying the requirements are acutely aware of that reality. As Anderson shows, they realize that voter fraud is essentially nonexistent in most locales, but they spread misinformation about the pervasive problem to defeat court challenges. In the next chapter, the author explains the inhumane and often illegal tactic of purging eligible voters from the master list. The officials often refuse to tell voters that a purge has occurred, rendering those voters helpless on election day. In her chapter "Rigging the Rules," Anderson focuses on the pernicious creep of disenfranchisement through gerrymandering. Many opponents of more accessible voting practices distinguish artificially between race-based gerrymandering and purely political gerrymandering of legislative districts, but the author offers persuasive evidence that both forms primarily target people of color. In the concluding chapter, "At the Crossroads of Half Slave, Half Free," Anderson connects Russian meddling in the 2016 election cycle with Republican voter suppression tactics.Anderson is a highly praised academic who has mastered the art of gathering information and writing for a general readership, and her latest book could not be more timely. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The notion of voter fraud is itself a fraud perpetrated on the American voting public. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, instances of illicit voting are scant. This, however, has not stopped government agencies and officials from devising ever more punitive methods of suppressing voter turnout. Along with dog-whistle, alarmist rhetoric claiming the rigging of elections, politicians and the courts have developed convoluted reasons for purging voting rolls and creating an ever-changing phalanx of voter-identification criteria, all in an effort to keep certain segments of the population from going to the polls. From its roots in the days following Reconstruction, to the deceptively hopeful passage of the Voter Rights Act of 1965, to the disastrous 2013 Shelby County v. Holder U.S. Supreme Court ruling that negated that landmark case, voter disenfranchisement is growing in scope and measure. Esteemed professor and award-winning author of the bestselling White Rage (2016) Anderson examines the treacherous machinations of a government actively working to exclude voters based on undisguised racial profiling. This a whiplash-inducing chronicle of how a nation that just a few short years ago elected its first black president now finds itself in the throes of a deceitful and craven effort to rip this most essential of American rights from millions of its citizens.--Carol Haggas Copyright 2018 Booklist