The elections of 2008 served as a critical test of the nation's
election systems. With changes in voting machines and procedures,
coupled with expectations of record voter turnout, election
administrators held their breath and hoped their system wouldn't fail.
While the system didn't fail, voters faced serious obstacles in
exercising their right to vote. Voter registration ended up being the problem that affected the largest number of voters. Even before the first votes were cast, it was apparent
that our voter registration systems were woefully inadequate. While in
other nations 90% or more of the eligible voter population is
registered to vote, in the United States less than 75% of eligible
voters are registered.
In last Tuesday's election, there was a dramatic demographic and
geographic shift in who supported progressives all the way down the
ballot. These changes could lead to long-term electoral support for
progressives if they deliver on the promises they made to voters.
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.