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It is difficult and expensive to organize minority groups to register and vote, according to Kimball; automatic, universal voter registration would be simpler and sounder. Supportive statistical studies are presented of blacks and Puerto Ricans in Newark, New York City, and Cleveland, Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles and San Antonio, Arizona Indians, and Southern blacks in Atlanta and New Orleans. But actually the degree to which minority groups do participate politically seems rather striking, given all the ""prior restraints"" Kimball describes and the dissolution of the urban machines that used to facilitate minority participation in the electoral process. The book will probably be of greatest interest to Democrats, with their greater stake in minority votes; Kimball describes, deadpan, the 1969 efforts of Mayors Carl Stokes and John Lindsay to appeal to ""the white vote"" while rallying sufficient black votes. The accomplishments and difficulties of voter registration among Southwestern Chicanos are described, along with the less than overwhelming impact on the South of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Kimball doses with a reminder that automatic registration would also help pull in the ""youth vote."" A rather unfocused intelligence report coupled with a straightforward pitch for reform.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1972
Publisher: Columbia Univ. Press