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Disenfranchisement


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(see also Electoral Reform)


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Basics

Limiting the franchise has been a key to the maintenance of minority rule in the US since the founding of the Republic. For a nearly a century most Black people were denied the vote; for a century and a half women were denied; for nearly two centuries young men & women of military age (18-21) were denied. In most states immigrants who are employed, pay taxes & have children in the schools, as well as persons of any origin who have ever been convicted of a felony are still denied. In addition, our system erects many barriers to voter registration, rather than doing everything it can to encourage people to vote. (For example, ask yourself why election day is a Tuesday rather than a Sunday, or why it is not a national holiday). All of this has combined to prevent the establishment of the right and responsibility of voting as a fundamental feature of life in every American community. This even before the erosion of public confidence in government and in the electoral process that has resulted from the high cost of campaigning, systematic disinformation and, since the 2000 election, a growing public awareness that many votes cast are never counted, combined with distrust of the electronic voting machine. Ours is a system that is by no means the model for the world we are taught to believe that it is. It is a system in desperate need of reform.

On the Web: Articles

Jim Crow Revived in Cyberspace. Martin Luther King III & Greg Palast, Sun Spot (5/8/03).

On the Web: Specialized Sites

In the Library: Articles

Anon. "The disenfranchisement of ex-felons:citizenship, criminality & 'the purity of the ballot box'," Harvard Law Review 102,6 (4/99):1300-1317.

Bingham, Barry. "Do all Americans have the right to vote?" Louisville Courier-Journal (4/19/1939).

Guerra, Sandra. "Voting rights & the Constitution: the disenfranchisement of non-English speaking citizens," Yale Law Journal 97,7 (6/88):1419-37.

In the Library: Non-Fiction Books

Braden, Anne. The FBI vs. Black Voting Rights: A Case Study of Racial Harassment (LA: National Committee Against Repressive Legislation, 1988). 1 sheet.

Carbó, Stephen; Ludovic Blain & Ellen Braune (comps.) Democracy Denied: The Racial History & Impact of Disenfranchisement Laws in the US (NY: Demos, 2003.

de León, Arnoldo. In re Ricardo Rodríguez: An Attempt at Chicano Disenfranchisement in San Antonio, 1896-97 (San Antonio: Caravel, 1979).

Durbin, Thomas M. & Robert Poznanski. Disenfranchisement of Convicted Felons (Washington: Congressional Research Service, 1981).

Fellner, Jamie. Losing the Vote: The Impact of Felony Disenfranchisement Laws in the US (NY: Human Rights Watch, 1998).

Fukurai, Hiroshi; Edgar Butler & Richard Krooth. Race & the Jury: Racial Disenfranchisement & the Search for Justice (NY: Plenum, 1993).

Manza, Jeff & Christopher Uggen. Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement & American Democracy (NY: Oxford, 2003).

Margo, Robert A. Disenfranchisement, School Finance, & the Economics of Segregated Schools in the US South, 1890-1910 (NY: Garland, 1985).

Ogden, Frederic D. The Poll Tax in the South (University: U. of Alabama, 1958).

Perry, Jennings. Democracy Begins at Home: The Tennessee Fight on the Poll Tax (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1944).

In the Library: Fiction

In the Library: For Young Readers

In the Library: Poetry

In the Library: Drama

In the Library: Photography

CD & Audio

Film & Video

"American Blackout" [2006], dir.?, ?m. From Brave New Theaters.



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