Longlisted for the National Book Award
In her New York Times bestseller White Rage, Carol Anderson laid bare an insidious history of policies that have systematically impeded black progress in America, from 1865 to our combustible present. With One Person, No Vote, she chronicles a related history: the rollbacks to African American participation in the vote since the 2013 Supreme Court decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Known as the Shelby ruling, this decision effectively allowed districts with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice.
Focusing on the aftermath of Shelby, Anderson follows the astonishing story of government-dictated racial discrimination unfolding before our very eyes as more and more states adopt voter suppression laws. In gripping, enlightening detail she explains how voter suppression works, from photo ID requirements to gerrymandering to poll closures. In a powerful new afterword, she examines the repercussions of the 2018 midterm elections. And with vivid characters, she explores the resistance: the organizing, activism, and court battles to restore the basic right to vote to all Americans.
“One Person, No Vote reads like a speedy sequel of sorts to her previous book, the elegant and illuminating best-seller White Rage . . . Her new book seems to have been written from a state of emergency, in an adrenaline-fueled sprint. Anderson is a stinging polemicist; her book rolls through a condensed history of voting rights and disenfranchisement, without getting bogged down in legislative minutiae. This is harder than it looks . . . This trenchant little book will push you to think not just about the vote count but about who counts, too.”—Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times
“Anderson has a gift for illustrating how specific historical injustices have repercussive, detrimental influence on contemporary American life . . . If White Rage is history as even-tempered cultural criticism—it was awarded the 2017 National Book Critics Circle citation in criticism—then One Person, No Vote is history as old-fashioned, coldblooded jeremiad: a lamentation about American democracy in crisis. Throughout One Person, Anderson's tone, at turns urgent and indignant, seems to arise from the ease with which she can document abundantly—via investigative journalism, popular history and historical scholarship—the GOP's determined efforts to purge American citizens and cull and homogenize the electorate.”—Los Angeles Times
“As the last two national elections demonstrated, many Americans feel angry, frustrated, and confused by a voting system that simply doesn't work; Anderson (White Rage) traces the ugly history of disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, and suppression that disable true democracy.”—Boston Globe, "Best Books of the Year"
“Anderson's description of the perpetual war that blacks and now Latinos have fought to get and keep the right to vote is impeccably researched, deftly written and, sadly, prescient . . . One Person, No Vote punches above its weight, like a lecture from a professor with superb command of language.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Carol Anderson's prose is unflinching, and she wastes no time as she marches the reader from the openly racist, clear-cutting suppression tactics of the early 20th century toward the carefully veneered, ruthlessly efficient disenfranchisement campaign of the present. Whether you only think about voting on a single Tuesday in November or you're passionately engaged in the fight for the ballot, you will set this book down with the knowledge that it's all so much worse than you thought.”—NPR, Best Books of the Year
“Carol Anderson is one of our most incisive and cogent thinkers regarding history's fingerprints on current affairs. With One Person, No Vote she has produced a crucial examination of a critical issue: voter suppression. At a time when democracy is under siege and the worst elements of the racial past are being resurrected we can scarcely afford to avert our eyes from our most pressing challenges. Carol Anderson looks at these issues directly, unflinchingly, and offers us an invaluable insight regarding where we are, how we got here, and how we might navigate our way to safer shores.”—Jelani Cobb, author of The Substance of Hope