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Articles Calling for a Solution to the November Election
America anticipates chaos

Democracy Imperiled: America’s election problems.
National Review Online. September 13, 2004. By John Fund.

Our nation may be on the brink of repeating the 2000 Florida election debacle, but this time in several states, with allegations of voter fraud, intimidation and manipulation of voting machines added to the generalized chaos that sent our last presidential contest into overtime.

There is still time to reduce the chance of another electoral meltdown, both this year and in future years. But this will not happen unless we acknowledge that the United States has a haphazard, fraud-prone election system befitting an emerging Third World country rather than the world's leading democracy. ...

Confusion and claims of fraud are likely this time around, especially if the election is as close as it was in 2000. Can the nation take another Florida-style controversy?

Touch-screen voting: Critics warn of post-election problems if no paper trail exists.
Federal Computer Week at FCW.com. Sept. 6, 2004. By Michael Hardy

In many ways, politics in the United States are unlike those in Venezuela. The South American nation last month held a recall election for President Hugo Chavez, who survived an attempted coup in 2002.

But in another sense, that election may foreshadow the upcoming election in this country. ...

"Without a paper trail to audit, there would have been no way to reach any closure on this situation," said one American observer on the scene in Caracas, Venezuela's capital. "There would be no paper trail, and you would be left with the assertion that some kind of manipulation happened. You have a safe bet that something like that is going to happen in November" in the United States.

Voting reforms not finished yet.
Denver Post. September 5, 2004. Editorial

Nearly four years after the 2000 Florida vote fiasco, reform of the nation's election systems is unfinished business, and some Americans remain uneasy about the accuracy and reliability of election returns.

If Nov. 2 yields a disputed presidential vote count in a key state - or in more than one state - unease could swell into a crisis of public confidence.

Potentially close races elsewhere on the ballot, including Colorado's Senate contest, also could be affected by counting disputes.

Flawed or not, the systems now in place are the ones that will be used this Election Day.

Election flaws feared in swing states; 'Nobody wants to be the next Florida.'
The Times Picayune. September 5, 2004. By Margie Wylie, Newhouse News Service

With only weeks until America chooses a president, elections officials in battleground states are crossing their fingers that the vote goes smoothly.

"Nobody wants to be the next Florida -- not even Florida," said Anne Martens, spokeswoman for Oregon's secretary of state.

Problems Abound in Election System: Outmoded Machinery Is Still Widespread.
Washington Post. September 5, 2004. By Jo Becker and Dan Keating.

Voicing a concern of many election officials and analysts, Bureau of Elections director Denise Lamb in New Mexico -- where the 2000 race was decided by just 366 votes -- said, "God help us if the election is close."

The lessons of the 2000 election that deadlocked in Florida were as clear as the calls for reform: The nation's system for casting and counting ballots was antiquated, unreliable, often capricious and unable to produce a clear-cut winner in an election with razor-close margins.

In response, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act to assist states in upgrading aging voting equipment, creating more accurate voter rolls and preventing eligible voters from being turned away at the polls.

But election officials and experts say many of the most important reforms will not be in place for the Nov. 2 election in the most closely contested states.

Voting irregularities could confound a tight election.
Knox News. September 4, 2004. By James Rosen.

It could happen again, but it might not be in Florida this time.

Almost four years after the 2000 recount debacle filled the streets with protesters, snarled the court system and delayed the election outcome for five weeks, Americans once more find themselves in a deadlocked presidential campaign as the contest enters the stretch run.

In order to determine the next president, election officials in one or more of those swing states might have to recount ballots after polls close Nov. 2.

And despite federally funded improvements in voting technology and the tightening of state election laws around the country - mainly in response to the Florida mess of 2000 - it could take days or even weeks to complete a recount in some of the states where the White House is now a toss-up.

... Most important, recent surveys show the contest tied in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, three large states with a combined 68 Electoral College votes. If the national tally is close Nov. 2, a razor-thin margin in any one of them could compel a recount that would throw the final outcome into doubt.

Remember the election mess in 2000? How about a tie?
USA Today. Sept. 3, 2004. by Susan Page.

NEW YORK - Even as President Bush accepted the Republican nomination Thursday and the final chapter of the campaign began, strategists in both camps were preparing for the possibility of an unprecedented situation when it ends.

An Electoral College tie.
Remember the 36-day drama over Florida's hanging chads and butterfly ballots?

Get ready for a replay.

Election Overseers Want Big Win.
Wired News. Aug. 31, 2004. By Kim Zetter.

WASHINGTON "Dear God, please, please, please ... let the winner win big."

That was the prayer uttered last week by the nation's election officials as they gathered for a conference in Washington, D.C., the last time they will meet nationally before November's presidential election.

State and county election officials from around the country are praying that this year's presidential race ends with a wider margin of victory than it did four years ago when George W. Bush beat Al Gore in Florida by only 547 votes. A close victory this year would likely result in more charges of voter fraud and calls for recounts, two things that election officials don't relish.
"If election 2000 was under a microscope, this one's probably under an electron microscope," he [Doug Lewis] told the audience.
"If this election is close and these kinds of attacks continue, it may take us a generation or more to win back the full faith of the American voter," Lewis said.

Another Florida Mess.
Bangor Daily News. Op-Ed. August 30, 2004.

With the presidential election only two months away, another hang-fire vote in Florida seems likely. Voting-machine problems in several swing states could throw the outcome into doubt, but the worst case seems to be Florida, where a chaotic voting system in the 2000 election kept the nation from knowing for weeks who the next president would be.
Why is it that a country that considers itself the world's greatest democracy is so careless in the way it manages one of its primary functions, the right to a fair and independent vote?

Battle of the ballot heats up: Thousands are on guard to head off repeat of 2000 election debacle.
MSNBC. August 30, 2004. By Alan Boyle, Science editor.

Although the Nov. 2 presidential election is more than two months away, the controversy over your vote and how it will be counted is already in full swing.

In fact, the battle of the ballot could well stretch from Tuesday's Florida primary until weeks after the November election.

"It's going to be pretty much all-consuming from here on out," said Michael Alvarez, a political science professor at the California Institute of Technology who is co-director of the Caltech-MIT Voting Technology Project.

Thousands of voting watchdogs have been mobilized around the country, determined to head off the kinds of voting irregularities that came to light in the 2000 presidential election, including confusing ballot designs, disenfranchised voters and touchscreen glitches. The Caltech-MIT researchers estimate that more than 4 million votes were lost due to such problems.

Ironically, the fact that so many more people are watching this time around virtually guarantees that the ballot battle will be as contentious as it was in 2000 ago, said Doug Chapin, director of ElectionLine.org.

Chapin drew a parallel between the volatile election season and the forest-fire season: "The woods really aren't any drier in 2004 than they were four years ago, but more people have matches," he said.

Scary scenarios for upcoming elections.
Providence Journal. August 27, 2004. By M.J. Anderson.

DID PAUL HAMM win the gold medal or didn't he?

Olympic fans have gone from a clear narrative involving an angel-faced come-from-behind hero to a tale of statistical error. You could argue the conclusion either way:

Hamm's South Korean rival was the victim of judging errors that, once corrected, placed him first in the men's all-around gymnastic competition. On the other hand, he delayed too long in objecting. Olympic rules prohibit late changes in results. And anyway, deductions the judges should have applied still would have kept the South Korean from winning.

It is a debate that smarts, a debate that will never end. And yet, despite the exacting stakes, this was only an athletic contest. Imagine if the prize were, say, the presidency of the United States.

Many will say they don't have to imagine; they saw this dilemma for real four years ago. We ended up with something like a statistical dead heat, with charges and countercharges of voting irregularities, the whole thing cut short by a divided Supreme Court.

Americans accepted the result. But this year, they will be less willing to roll over. The bad news is that we appear headed for an equally close call. And not only are voters less willing to trust this time around; the voting systems in place are, if anything, less trustworthy.

Without decisive action to make the vote credible, the nation could face an explosion that renders everything else about this campaign moot. Like the booing crowds that rattled the gymnastics venue this week, Americans could decide to withhold their consent.

Citizens should demand paper ballot.
Bangor Daily News. August 26, 2004. Joyce Schelling.

About 3 out of 10 votes in the national election this November will be unverifiable, unauditable and unrecountable unless laws similar to Maine's Act To Assure the Accurate Counting of Votes are adopted by other states. Maine's act bans Internet voting, networked voting machines and any electronic voting machines that don't provide a voter-verifiable paper trail.
Without the assurance that every vote will be counted equally in the 2004 election, what kind of government will we have elected and how could we give it our allegiance?

Vote of Confidence?
Op-Ed in Brattleboro, VT Reformer. August 24, 2004.

They're bought and paid for or leased by the American taxpayer.
They're used by the American voter.
They tabulate votes for both the presidency and candidates for local office.

But we won't know if 50 million touch-screen voting machines are ready to handle the November election.
Voters had enough of the ballot shenanigans in 2000 and they simply won't stand for it again in 2004.

Let’s avoid an Election Day like 2000.
Boston Globe. August 22, 2004. By Kevin C. Peterson. (New Democracy Coalition)

IGNORE THE HOOPLA about swing states and battleground territories in the presidential election. The reality is that the contest between President George Bush and Senator John Kerry will likely hinge on a more important theme: electoral justice.

Given the public's shattered confidence in elections since the 2000 presidential race, the important issue for Americans in November should not be which candidate wins, but whether our democracy has survived unbruised.

Are we on the verge of another stolen election? Is anything being done about it?
Intervention Magazine. August 22, 2004. By Elaine Kitchel.

Ellen Theisen of VotersUnite.org reports, “If electronic equipment is used to record and count the votes for federal offices, there will be a questionable election. Lawsuits will abound in every key state, the delays will raise tension beyond the breaking point, millions of citizens will object to the final outcome, and the new President and Congress will not have the support of the country.”

“There is a solution: All votes for federal offices must be cast on paper and counted by hand. This will avert a national crisis in November. Nothing else will,” writes Ms. Theisen.

Intellectuals solve problems,
geniuses prevent them.
~ Albert Einstein

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