An explanation of what general voting is for and why it is important.
In unusually (for the audience) frank if bare-bones fashion, deRubertis briefly chronicles the “long and bumpy” pursuit of universal suffrage in this country, from the first U.S. elections in which just 1 percent of the populace was qualified to vote at all up to the 30 percent turnout that resulted in 2016’s presidential debacle. Rightly observing that having a legal right to vote and being allowed to exercise it are two very different things, she charts the slow extension of the franchise to ethnic minorities and women (as well as a federal court’s retrograde 2000 exclusion of residents of Puerto Rico and other territories); names the first African-Americans, Native Americans, woman, and Chinese-American to be elected to the U.S. Senate; and surveys the civil rights protests that led to 1975’s expanded Voting Rights Act. Though she focuses largely on federal elections, state and local ones receive some attention. The Electoral College, voter-record security issues, and political parties go unmentioned, but the author does highlight low turnouts as a significant issue before closing with an eloquent summation of voting’s importance in a democratic society. Age, race, and gender diversity were plainly important considerations in choosing the generous selection of period portraits and scenes and recent stock photos, including the striking cover image of a smiling black woman at a podium.
Important background for prospective voters. (Nonfiction. 7-10)