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Life Arts    H4'ed 1/10/16

REVIEW: Edward Foley, "Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States"

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Beyond that, the author surmises that the existence of an impartial arbitration board would have awarded victory to the Republicans on the basis of the Fifteenth Amendment without the compromise that vitiated Reconstruction. History might have been altered without the red carpet rolled out for Jim Crow. History might have been vastly different since 2000 had the Supreme Court not have been dominated by conservatives but rather rendered impartial.

There is so much more: the anecdote that begins the book about the importance of a single vote and, inter alia, coverage of elections during the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era as well as the 1960s and 2000. The closing chapter details crucially close elections since 2000--2004 in Ohio, North Carolina, and Washington state as well as the Minnesota 2008 U.S. Senate race between Al Franken and incumbent Norm Coleman. Had either of the latter two involved a Presidential vote, asks Foley, would they have been able to resolve their protracted disputes within the time frame allotted by Congress? The Conclusion recaps and contextualizes vitally important elections detailed in the narrative and points the way forward toward impartial arbitration of electoral disputes and other necessary reforms. An Appendix offers data tables on elections that carried over beyond Election Day: gubernatorial elections since 1876; Senate elections since passage of the Seventeenth Amendment, and all categories of statewide elections held since 2000.

There are copious and vitally important endnotes, historically significant illustrations including portraits of important actors throughout the time period covered by Foley, and political cartoons lampooning the nearly catastrophic Hayes-Tilden impasse, among other subjects.

Beyond that, this excellent book is affordable and well worth the purchase price. Far from a "scholarly tome," it educates the public in a way crucial to the future of election integrity. Disagreement with a few details is inevitable for Progressives and some EI advocates, but continuity of democracy concerns all political persuasions, as will become evident sooner rather than later--I hope before the next civil war.


(Article changed on January 11, 2016 at 08:01)

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Marta Steele is an author/editor/blogger who has been writing for Opednews.com since 2006. She is also author of the 2012 book "Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement's Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People's Vote, (more...)
 

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