I have now sent the manuscript of my book, The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown, off to Yale University Press for editing. It should be out by this summer, and will be a trade book intended for general readers interested in politics and elections. Here’s a brief description of the book:
In 2000, the U.S. presidential election went into overtime as just a few hundred votes out of millions cast separated Republican George W. Bush from Democrat Al Gore in the state of Florida, whose 25 electoral votes determined the nation’s next president. For 36 days, the country was riveted as the election went into overtime, with election contests, recounts, and almost two dozen lawsuits, culminating in one of the most controversial Supreme Court decisions in U.S. history, Bush v. Gore. At the end of the controversy, calls for reform came from everywhere.
If you think that nearly a dozen years later the country would have fixed its problems with how we run our elections, you’d be dead wrong.
Since Florida we have witnessed a partisan war over election rules. The number of election-related lawsuits has more than doubled, and election time brings out inevitable charges of voter fraud and voter suppression. These allegations have shaken public confidence, as campaigns deploy “armies of lawyers” and the partisan press revs up when elections are expected to be close and the stakes are high.
In fact, we are just one razor-thin presidential election away from chaos and an undermining of the rule of law.
The next overtime will be much more partisan and nastier than 2000, full of acrimony and unsubstantiated allegations of fraud or official wrongdoing, and amplified via social media such as Twitter. The controversy could threaten the very legitimacy of the next president, as well as the courts.
How did we get here? Why haven’t things improved since the 2000? How has the rise of social media made the potential for meltdown much worse? The Voting Wars answers these questions through a narrative weaving together stories of the key players with insights from law, politics, history, and computer science.