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Find a listing of the latest arrivals of books, audio and video items at the Wauwatosa Library, as well as information on upcoming events and staff suggestions for timely information you can use every day on the library's blog.

Elections Demystified

Every four years the library devotes more than the usual amount of its materials budget to the purchase of books related to the presidential campaign.  As we approach what is certainly one of the more interesting U.S. presidential elections of modern times, we’re well-stocked with views of the issues and personalities from right, left and in-between. 

The system by which we elect our chief executive often appears odd to residents of other democracies, most of which are parliamentary systems in which the majority party after an election chooses the executive from among its members.  France has a president elected directly by the voters (unlike ours, who is chosen by the Electoral College), but also has a run-off system that ensures that whoever is elected has received a majority of the votes cast.  The fact that an American President may be elected by less than a majority of the voters is sometimes seen as a problem for our system.  (Lincoln, for example, was elected in 1860 in spite of the fact that 60.2% of the vote went to the other three candidates.  The length of the whole election process and the astonishing amounts of money spent on it in the U.S. are also highly unusual.

For a recent view on electoral systems and their problems in theory and history, see Gaming the Vote : Why Elections Aren’t Fair (and What We Can Do About It) by William Poundstone. (329 P65, on the new shelf).

The following are few websites related to the current presidential election: 

 Politics1 ( ) includes a complete list of and information on all candidates appearing on at least one state ballot. 

League of Women Voters ( )  includes a Presidential Voters’ Guide.  

Official John McCain campaign site ( ) 

Official Barack Obama campaign site ( ) 

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