Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mary Frances Berry on vote buying and other illegal voting practices

Dr. Mary Frances Berry talked with Spencer Overton, President of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, about her new book Five Dollars and a Pork Chop Sandwich: Vote Buying and the Corruption of Democracy on BookTV's After Words March 2, 2016.   In the book, Berry, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and History at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses a number of illegal voting practices taking place across the country.

According to the publisher,

Though voting rights are fundamental to American democracy, felon disfranchisement, voter identification laws, and hard-to-access polling locations with limited hours are a few of the ways voter turnout is suppressed. These methods of voter suppression are pernicious, but in Five Dollars and a Pork Chop Sandwich, Dr. Mary Frances Berry focuses on forms of corruption including vote buying, vote hauling, the abuse of absentee ballots, and other illegal practices by candidates and their middlemen, often in collusion with local election officials.

Vote buying—whether it's for a few dollars, a beer, or a pack of cigarettes—is offered to individual citizens in order to ensure votes for a particular candidate, and Dr. Berry notes it occurs across party lines, with Republicans, Democrats, and independents all participating.

The author summarizes her findings in this under-60 second video below.

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