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Elections A to Z


Moore, J. L. (2003). Elections A to Z (2nd ed.). Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.


The encyclopedia serves as a “supplement that can help in understanding the U.S. electoral system. The book is a treasure trove of useful information about elections and politics, much of it almost impossible to find in any other one-volume encyclopedia” (Moore, 2003, xiv). It is to be much more of a narrative to U.S. elections, rather than providing numbers and percentages of the elections, although the encyclopedia does include some of those (Moore, 2003, xiv). The author points to resources that provide raw data about U.S. elections, if a user is needed statistical election data. In the Preface to the second edition, the author further states that the encyclopedia is “an invaluable tool for understanding how campaigns and elections – the hallmark of any democracy – are conducted in the United States and how voters, candidates, political parties, and other actors participate in that process” (Moore, 2003, xv).


The book is still current, although a new edition is coming out in Fall 2007. As the book is published by CQ Press, and is a part of the American Government A to Z series available from CQ Press, this work is authoritative.


The scope of the volume is obviously limited to everything about American elections. However, it also includes political cartoons, American history, political philosophy, and biographies of key politicians as all of these subjects dealt with elections at one time or another. That makes this reference material have a greater audience than just those studying American elections. Students of American history and government will find this encyclopedia to be a helpful resource.


The encyclopedia is easy to read and look at; the font is in a normal size and it is not too bulky to carry. Entries can quickly be skimmed for needed information and a user can refer to related topics in the encyclopedia or turn to other reference materials for more in-depth information.


The beginning of the book provides a table of contents that includes each entry. A list is provided to tables, boxes, and figures. Then the entries are organized alphabetically. An exhaustive index is also included at the book of the encyclopedia. 


Entries provide summaries of information about the topics dealing with elections, from political parties, to voting, to key events in “historical elections”. According to CQ Press, “Entries range from short definitions of terms like “front-runner” to in-depth essays exploring vital aspects of campaigns and elections, such as the right to vote, turnout trends, and the history, evolution, and current state of House, Senate, presidential, and some state-level elections” (CQ Press, 2007).


Tables giving historical election data and a bibliography section, as well as maps, graphics, and photographs give a uniqueness to this encyclopedia. The entries themselves are not much different than a normal, general encyclopedia. However, with the tables, graphics, and provided bibliography on a very specific subject of American government, the resource becomes a unique reference material for a political science collection.


This encyclopedia can be used for locating anything and everything dealing with elections, without being overwhelmed by statistical election data. Students beginning to learn about elections will find this encyclopedia helpful and informative.


According to, the book is available for $135; the third edition is available in Fall 2007, for $85, according to Both of these prices are a little bit on the expensive side for any library’s budget, but seeing as the book isn’t published each year, and is full of informative information about an important part of American government — elections — many libraries will find purchasing this encyclopedia to be a good use of their money. The encyclopedia is easy to use, organized well, and students of government will find it to be a helpful resource to use.


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