The formal rules and structures of city government affect who has access to city hall. The formal rules and structures help to determine just which groups receive, and which groups do not receive, the benefits they seek in the local arena. As this chapter describes, the rules that govern the operation of a modern United States city have their roots in the battles of an earlier era between the big-city political machines and their antagonists, the urban reformers . The reformers largely won the war and rewrote the laws governing local elections, representation, and municipal administration. The reform victory, however, was not total; older machine-style patterns and practices did not entirely disappear.