Voting Books for Adults

Non-Fiction Books | Fiction Books

Learn about voting and elections in the United States with these selections of fiction and non-fiction books! Election day is on Tuesday, November 8.

Non-Fiction Books

A selection of non-fiction books about voting and election history..

Abrams, Stacey

Voter suppression has plagued America since its inception, and so has the issue of identity--who is really American and what that means. When tied together, as they are in our modern politics, citizens are harmed in overt, subtle, and even personal ways. Stacey Abrams experienced the effects firsthand, running one of the most unconventional races in modern politics as the Democratic nominee for the governorship in Georgia and the first black woman major party nominee in American history. Abrams did not become governor, but she will not concede. And the reason she won't is because democracy failed voters ... Suppression and identity altered the 2016 presidential election--and will do the same in 2020. But progress can win, and here Abrams lays out how ... [she] draws on extensive national research from her voter rights organization, Fair Fight Action, and her 2020 Census effort, Fair Count, as well as moving and personal anecdotes from her own life ... [and] those who have fought for the vote and the right to be seen throughout our nation's history, linking them with how law and policy deny real political power.

Anderson, Carol

Chronicles the rollbacks to African American participation in the vote since the Supreme Court's 2013 Shelby ruling, which allowed districts to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice.

Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition

This 260 page book provides extensive information to help people prepare for release and successfully reintegrate back into their families and communities. This publication is helpful for people involved in the criminal justice system, their families, community service providers and criminal justice professionals.

Daniels, Gilda R.

An answer to the assault on voting rights--crucial reading in advance of the 2020 presidential election. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is considered one of the most effective pieces of legislation the United States has ever passed. It enfranchised hundreds of thousands of voters, particularly in the American South, and drew attention to the problem of voter suppression. Yet in recent years there has been a continuous assault on access to the ballot box in the form of stricter voter ID requirements, meritless claims of rigged elections, and baseless accusations of voter fraud. In the past these efforts were aimed at eliminating African American voters from the rolls, and today, new laws seek to eliminate voters of color, the poor, and the elderly, groups that historically vote for the Democratic Party. Uncounted examines the phenomenon of disenfranchisement through the lens of history, race, law, and the democratic process. Gilda R. Daniels, who served as Deputy Chief in the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and more than two decades of voting rights experience, argues that voter suppression works in cycles, constantly adapting and finding new ways to hinder access for an exponentially growing minority population. She warns that a premeditated strategy of restrictive laws and deceptive practices has taken root and is eroding the very basis of American democracy--the right to vote.

Dionne, E. J., Jr.

Americans are required to pay taxes, serve on juries, get their kids vaccinated, get driver's licenses, and sometimes go to war for their country. So why not ask--or require--every American to vote?.. E.J. Dionne and Miles Rapoport argue that universal participation in our elections should be a cornerstone of our system. It would be the surest way to protect against voter suppression and the active disenfranchisement of a large share of our citizens. And it would create a system true to the Declaration of Independence's aspirations by calling for a government based on the consent of all of the governed.

Goldstone, Lawrence

On Account Of Race tells the story of an American tragedy, the only occasion in United States history in which a group of citizens who had been granted the right to vote then had it stripped away. Even more unjust was that this theft of voting rights was done with full approval, even the sponsorship, of the United States Supreme Court.

Jones, Martha S.

According to conventional wisdom, American women's campaign for the vote began with the Seneca Falls convention of 1848 and ended with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. The movement was led by storied figures such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. But this women's movement was an overwhelmingly white one, and it secured the constitutional right to vote for white women, not for all women. In Vanguard, acclaimed historian Martha Jones offers a sweeping history of African American women's political lives in America, recounting how they fought for, won, and used the right to the ballot and how they fought against both racism and sexism. From 1830s Boston to the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and beyond to Shirley Chisholm, Stacey Abrams, and Kamala Harris, Jones excavates the lives and work of black women who, although in many cases suffragists, were never single-issue activists. 

Litt, David

Here's something true for almost every American. The democracy you live in today is different, completely different, than the democracy born into. Since 1980, the number of Americans legally barred from voting has more than doubled. Since the 1990s, odds of living in a competitive Congressional district have fallen by more than half. In the twenty-first century alone, the amount of money spent on Washington lobbying has increased by more than 100 percent. Meanwhile, new rules in Congress make passing new bills nearly impossible, no matter how popular or bipartisan they are. No wonder it feels like representatives have stopped representing the people. Millions of Americans now recognize that democracy is in trouble and that the trouble goes beyond Trump. But too often, they are looking in the wrong places for solutions. Voter suppression is real, but Voter ID laws aren't tipping elections. Getting rid of bizarrely shaped districts won't end gerrymandering.

Mallon, Thomas

Yours Ever explores the offhand masterpieces dispatched through the ages by messenger, postal service, and BlackBerry. Thomas Mallon weaves a remarkable assortment of epistolary riches into his own insightful and eloquent commentary on the circumstances and characters of the world’s most intriguing letter writers. Here are Madame de Sévigné’s devastatingly sharp reports from the court of Louis XIV, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tormented advice to his young daughter, the besotted midlife billets-doux of a suddenly rejuvenated Woodrow Wilson, the casually brilliant spiritual musings of Flannery O’Connor, the lustful boastings of Lord Byron, the cries from prison of Sacco and Vanzetti. Along with the confessions and complaints and revelations sent from battlefields, frontier cabins, and luxury liners, a reader will find Mallon considering travel bulletins, suicide notes, fan letters, and hate mail–forms as varied as the human experiences behind them.

Martini, Adrienne

Back in the fall of 2016, before casting her vote for Hillary Clinton, Adrienne Martini, a knitter, a runner, a mom, and a resident of rural Otsego County in snowy upstate New York, knew who her Senators were, wasn't too sure who her Congressman was, and had only vague inklings about who her state reps were. She's always thought of politicians as . . . oily. Then she spent election night curled in bed, texting her husband, who was at work, unable to stop shaking. And after the presidential inauguration, she reached out to Dave, a friend of a friend, who was involved in the Otsego County Democratic Party. Maybe she could help out with phone calls or fundraising? But Dave's idea was: she should run for office. Someone had to do it. And so, in the year that 26,000 women (up from 920 the year before) contacted Emily's List about running for offices large and small, Adrienne Martini ran for the District 12 seat on the Otsego County Board. And became one of the 14 delegates who collectively serve one rural American county, overseeing a budget of $130 million. Highway repair? Soil and water conservation? Child safety? Want wifi? Need a coroner? It turns out, local office matters. A lot.

Meade, Desmond

Desmond Meade tells the story of his fight to pass Amendment 4 in Florida, which would restore voting rights to felons who have served their terms.

Seabrook, Nick

Nicholas Seabrook, authority on constitutional and election law, and expert on gerrymandering, begins with the earliest gerrymandering (pronounced with a hard 'g'!) before our nation's founding with the rigging of American elections for partisan and political gain and the election-meddling of the colonial governor of North Carolina (George Burrington) in retaliation against his critics. The author writes of Patrick Henry, who used redistricting to settle an old score with political foe and fellow Founding Father, James Madison, almost preventing the Bill of Rights from happening and of Elbridge Gerry, the Massachusetts governor from whom the naming of gerrymander derives. Seabrook writes of the Supreme Court's 20th century battles to curtail gerrymandering, first with Felix Frankfurter, the court's most outspoken advocate of judicial restraint, who fought for decades to prevent the judiciary from involving itself in disputes over the drawing of districts, only to see his judicial legacy collapse before his eyes; and Byron White, professional football player turned Supreme Court Justice who tried, and failed, to convince his colleagues to put a stop to partisan gerrymandering before most Americans were even aware that it was happening . . . One Person, One Vote explores the rise of the most partisan gerrymanders in U.S. history put in place by the Republican Party after the 2010 Census. We see how the battle has shifted to the states with REDMAP, the GOP's successful strategy to use control of state government and rig the results of state legislative and congressional elections for an entire decade. Seabrook makes clear that a vast new redistricting is already here and to safeguard our republic, action is needed before it is too late.

Smith, Erin Geiger

In this concise, lively look at the past, present, and future of voting, a journalist examines the long and continuing fight for voting equality, why so few Americans today vote, and innovative ways to educate and motivate them; included are checklists of what to do before election day to prepare to vote and encourage others.

Wehle, Kim

Practical, useful advice on the mechanics of voting and a survey of its history and future.

Fiction Books

A selection of fiction books that emphasize the importance of voting and democracy.

Chiaverini, Jennifer

Inspired by actual events, this novel offers a fascinating account of a crucial but little-remembered moment in American history that follows three courageous women who bravely risked their lives and liberty in the fight to win the vote.

Fallis, Terry

Here's the set up: A burnt-out politcal aide quits just before an election - but is forced to run a hopeless campaign on the way out. He makes a deal with a crusty old Scot, Angus McLintock - an engineering professor who will do anything, anything, to avoid teaching English to engineers - to let his name stand in the election. No need to campaign, certain to lose, and so on.

Harrow, Alix E.

In the late 1800s, three sisters use witchcraft to change the course of history in Alix E. Harrow's powerful novel of magic and the suffragette movement. In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box. But when the Eastwood sisters -- James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna -- join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women's movement into the witch's movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote -- and perhaps not even to live -- the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive. There's no such thing as witches. But there will be.

Heller, Jason

He is the perfect presidential candidate. Conservatives love his hard-hitting Republican resume. Liberals love his peaceful, progressive practicality. The media can’t get enough of his larger-than-life personality. And all the American people love that he’s an honest, hard-working man who tells it like it is. There’s just one problem. He is William Howard Taft . . . and he was already president a hundred years ago. So what on earth is he doing alive and well and considering a running mate in 2012?

Mallon, Thomas

In Watergate, Thomas Mallon conveys the drama and high comedy of the Nixon presidency through the urgent perspectives of seven characters we only thought we knew before now, moving readers from the private cabins of Camp David to the klieg lights of the Senate Caucus Room, from the District of Columbia jail to the Dupont Circle mansion of Theodore Roosevelt’s sharp-tongued ninety-year-old daughter (“The clock is dick-dick-dicking”), and into the hive of the Watergate complex itself, home not only to the Democratic National Committee but also to the president’s attorney general, his recklessly loyal secretary, and the shadowy man from Mississippi who pays out hush money to the burglars.

McCall Smith, Alexander

When Mma Potokwane suggests to Mma Ramotswe that she run for a seat on the Gaborone City Council, Mma Ramotswe is at first reluctant. But when she learns that developers plan to build the flashy Big Fun Hotel next to a graveyard, she allows herself to be persuaded. Her opponent is none other than Mma Makutsi's old nemesis, Violet Sephotho, who is in the pocket of the hotel developers. Although Violet is intent on using every trick in the book to secure her election, Mma Ramotswe refuses to guarantee anything beyond what she can deliver; hence her slogan: 'I can't promise anything--but I shall do my best.' Meanwhile, Mma Ramotswe has acquired a new client: one of her late father's old friends, who was the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Charlie volunteers to be the lead investigator in the case to prove he's ready to be more than an apprentice, as well as to impress a new girlfriend. With Charlie's inquiries landing him in hot water and Election Day fast approaching, Mma Ramotswe will have to call upon her good humor and generosity of spirit to help the community navigate these thorny issues, and to prove the at honesty and compassion will always carry the day.

Nicholas, Denise

When University of Michigan sophomore Celeste Tyree travels to Mississippi to volunteer her efforts in Freedom Summer, she's assigned to help register voters in the small town of Pineyville, a place best known for a notorious lynching that occurred only a few years earlier. As the long, hot summer unfolds, Celeste befriends several members of the community, but there are also those who are threatened by her and the change that her presence in the South represents. Finding inner strength as she helps lift the veil of oppression and learns valuable lessons about race, social change, and violence, Celeste prepares her adult students for their showdown with the county registrar. All the while, she struggles with loneliness, a worried father in Detroit, and her burgeoning feelings for Ed Jolivette, a young man also in Mississippi for the summer.

Older, Malka

It's been twenty years and two election cycles since Information, a powerful search engine monopoly, pioneered the switch from warring nation-states to global micro-democracy. The corporate coalition party Heritage has won the last two elections. With another election on the horizon, the Supermajority is in tight contention, and everything's on the line.

Patterson, Richard North

Corey Grace, a Republican senator from Ohio noted for voting his own conscience rather than the party line, becomes locked in a no-holds-barred presidential primary campaign with his rival, a member of the party establishment and leader of the Christian right.

Pepper, David

Investigative reporter Jack Sharpe is down to his last chance. Fired from his high-profile gig with a national news channel, his only lead is a phone full of messages from a grad student named Tori Justice, who swears she's observed an impossible result in a local election ... Sharpe learns that the most important tool in any election is the voter file: the database that keeps track of all voters in a district, and shapes a campaign's game plan for victory. If one person were to gain control of an entire party's voter file, they could manipulate the outcome of virtually every election in America. Sharpe discovers this has happened--and that the person behind the hack is determined to turn American politics upside down.

Rose, M.J. and Fiona Davis (editors)

From a chorus of bestselling historical fiction writers, a breathtaking book inspired by the day tens of thousands of women marched for the right to vote on October, 23, 1915. Includes an introduction by Kristin Hannah and stories by Lisa Wingate, M. J. Rose, Steve Berry, Paula McLain, Katherine J. Chen, Christina Baker Kline, Jamie Ford, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Megan Chance, Alyson Richman, Chris Bohjalian, and Fiona Davis.

Saramago, José

On election day in the capital, it is raining so hard that no one has bothered to go out to vote. The politicians are growing jittery. Should they reschedule the elections for another day? Around three o' clock, the rain finally stops. Promptly at four, voters rush to the polling stations, as if they had been ordered to appear.

Warren, Robert Penn

Its title is drawn from the nursery rhyme "Humpty Dumpty". The novel tells the story of charismatic populist governor Willie Stark and his political machinations in the Depression-era Deep South. It is commonly thought to have been loosely inspired by the real-life story of U.S. Senator Huey P. Long, who was assassinated in 1935. Warren won the Pulitzer Prize for All the King's Men in 1947. The novel has received critical acclaim and remained perennially popular since its first publication. 

Wright, Steven

Toussaint Andre Ross has one more shot. Despite being a successful African-American political consultant, his aggressive tactics have tarnished his firm's reputation. Now his boss and mentor Mrs. Fitz, who plucked him from juvenile incarceration and shepherded his career, is exiling him to the boondocks of South Carolina with $250,000 of dark money to introduce a ballot initiative on behalf of a mining company. The goal: to manipulate the locals into voting in favor of the sale of pristine public land to the highest bidder.

Summaries provided by DPL's catalog unless otherwise noted. Click on each title to view more information.