This year election administrators, many of whom were fielding new
voting equipment for the first time, faced record turnout. After the
pervasive problems with the previous two presidential elections and the
fears of more election problems, both real and imagined, voters across
the political spectrum faced the election with deep skepticism about
its fairness and integrity. Today we give a brief overview of whether
the expectations for the election were born out, and what election day
tells us about where to focus reforms.
Voter Action is a national non-profit organization that seeks to ensure election integrity in the United States through legaladvocacy, research, and public education. We aim to protect an openand transparent election process, one in which our elections at thefederal, state, and local level are accessible and verifiable. Wesupport the basic civil and political rights of all voters to casttheir ballots in an independent manner and to have to their votesaccurately recorded and counted. We seek to reclaim our elections forthe public domain, controlled by the voters and not by privateinterests.
Paper ballots are absolutely necessary to restore
citizens’ faith that our elections are fair, to ensure that votes are
accurately cast and counted, and to establish a record upon which electoral
disputes can be resolved. Even the much-touted "voter verifiable
paper audit trail" has been shown to be almost completely useless because
voters rarely check the paper record to verify that their votes were accurately
recorded. And with new ballotmarking technology, states can easily allow
access to disabled Americans and enable them to cast their votes in the same
manner as all other voters.
Several states have recognized the importance of using paper ballots, even
states that initially made significant investments in electronic voting
machines. Florida is such a state, and recently, Iowa moved to have an all
paper ballot voting system in place for the November 2008 presidential
The 2000 presidential election propelled America's problems with our
elections into the national spotlight in an unprecedented way.
Americans, night after night, watched news stories exposing the many
problems that are routine in elections but that receive little
attention: confusing ballots that lead people to mark their vote for
the wrong candidate, voter suppression aimed at minorities through
voter registration purges, and weary election officials trying to
discern voters’ intent on ambiguously marked punch card ballots.