Race, Class, and Precinct Quality in American Cities - Matt Barreto; David L. Leal; | Foyles Bookstore
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Race, Class, and Precinct Quality in American Cities
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Race, Class, and Precinct Quality in American Cities (Hardback)

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Nearly forty years after passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a fundamental question remains unanswered: although all citizens have an equal right to the ballot, do all citizens enjoy equal access to the ballot box? More specifically, are voting precincts in predominantly low-income and non-white neighborhoods less visible, less stable,

harder to find, and more difficult to navigate than are precincts in high-income and

predominantly white neighborhoods? If so, do such lower levels of accessibility result in

lower levels of voting, all other things being equal?

To investigate this important issue, scholars in cities across the United States participated in a precinct quality study during the November 2004 election. A similar 30-item check list was employed in each of the cities to gauge precinct quality and accessibility. This volume brings together the results and discusses the intricacies of precinct quality in many of America's largest cities. While Congress has considered standardizing the voting process in all fifty states, the results of this study indicate that vast differences in polling place quality exist not only between but also within cities. More specifically, the analysis reveals that the quality of polling places varies across the diverse neighborhoods of America and that precinct quality affects voter turnout. Low-income and minority communities tend to have lower quality precincts, which tend to depress already low levels of electoral participation.

The 2000 presidential election highlighted the importance of polling place accessibility and quality when the New York Times ran a headline "Arriving at Some Florida Voting Places, Some Blacks Found Frustration". During the 2004 elections scholars across the country embarked on a study of precinct quality using the same characteristics laid out in an LA pilot. While this may not be a uniquely American problem, this book uses a specific method to study the way voting takes place in the US. Given the current tension in places like Arizona and its likely impact on upcoming elections, this book is very timely, and in fact, Phoenix is one of this cities studied in the book. From David Leal: "my co-editor (Matt Barreto) is the rising star in the Latino politics field, so a book co-edited by him would be a considerable coup for the series." He did his PhD at UC Irvine under Bernard Grofman and has published in all of the top political science journals. Not only is this proposal good for the IMPP series, but it is complimentary with the voting topics we publish in the areas of public choice and constitutional political economy. This is the second proposal to come out of my meetings with Leal at APSA earlier this month. Not only has Leal been very active with the series, he has been a tremendous asset for Diana our marketing department with the development of the new Springer.com political science homepage and the multi-format MPSA conference.

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