January 21, 2008

"Voting system is haunted by democratic meltdown"

I have written this oped for Tuesday's Canberra Times (Australia). It begins:

    The protracted 2008 US election season got its official start this month, with voting for presidential party nominees in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. But while much of America's attention is focused on the race leading up to the November election, the under-reported story is how the US electoral system remains haunted by the ghost of the democratic meltdown of 2000, which culminated in a US Supreme Court decision that handed the presidency to George W. Bush, rather than Al Gore. US election administration has become more politicised and partisan since 2000, and could even affect the outcome of the 2008 presidential contest.

It concludes:
    The main bulwark against this kind of problem is not the American political establishment, which has proven itself incapable of enacting a fair and nonpartisan electoral system befitting a mature democracy. Instead, we put our faith in the law of numbers. We should all utter the US election administrator's prayer: "Lord, let this election not be close."

Posted by Rick Hasen at January 21, 2008 03:20 PM