In the history of democracy the democratic ideal of “one person, one vote” has never been fully realized, only imperfectly approximated. In the following essay, the American historian Alexander Keyssar (1947–) chronicles the too often tawdry history of overt or covert voter suppression in the United States and describes current developments in voting laws. Keyssar is professor of history and social policy at Harvard University and the author of several books, including The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States (2001 and 2009).