From the beginning of the Republic to the controversial outcome in 2000, election day has been a time of great importance-the climax of a multifaceted drama that has escalated and intensified for several months. Yet studies of the election process rarely devote space to the day itself. This book tells the story of how election day has evolved over the centuries, using contemporary documents to provide a sense of its past and present flavor. The words of participants-voters, candidates, election officials-foreign travelers, reporters, and historians illuminate the elaborate celebrations of the early republic, the virtues and abuses of the system, the exclusion and eventual inclusion of African Americans, women, and Native Americans, and recent innovations in methods and technology. Arranged in chronological sections, this book opens with an introductory survey of election day's evolution. Each section begins with a brief introduction to the period and places each document into historical context with a short discussion of the subject's significance. With special consideration of the controversial presidential contest of 2000, this book also raises questions about how election day is likely to evolve in the future.