About the Book

Keeping Down the Black Vote

Keeping Down the Black Vote

Race and the Demobilization of American Voters
February 2009
Hardcover · 281 Pages
$26.95 U.S.
ISBN 9781595583543
The New Press


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Today, over forty years after the Voting Rights Act of 1965 demolished bars to voting for African Americans, the effort to prevent black people—as well as Latinos and the poor in general—from voting is experiencing a resurgence. A myriad of new tactics, some of which adopt the mantle of “election reform,” has evolved to suppress the vote. In this sharply argued new book, three of America’s leading experts on party politics and elections demonstrate that our political system is as focused on stopping people from voting as on getting Americans to go to the polls.
In recent years, the Republican Party, the Bush administration, and the conservative movement have devoted a remarkable amount of effort to controlling election machinery (the scandal over federal prosecutors was in part over their refusal to gin up election-fraud cases). But Keeping Down the Black Vote shows that the effort to rig the system is as old as American political parties themselves, and race is at the heart of the game.
Frances Fox Piven is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and the author (with the late Richard A. Cloward) of The Breaking of the American Social Compact (The New Press), among many other books.
Margaret Groarke is an assistant professor in the government department and the director of the peace studies program at Manhattan College.
Lorraine C. Minnite is an assistant professor of political science at Barnard College.