You Call This An Election? America's Peculiar Democracy

By Steven E. Schier | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION
LESS PECULIAR

It is not difficult to envision a resolution of the 2000 presidential election less peculiar than that which actually transpired. This final chapter examines how it all might have turned out differently if certain reforms advocated in this book had been in place on election night, 2000. Imagine if the revised election administration procedures advocated in previous chapters had guided the resolution of controversies resulting from 2000's close race for president in the state of Florida.

Fortunately, we do not have to speculate much about what those reforms might have been. Florida adopted a great number of them in an election reform law signed by Governor Jeb Bush in May 2001. The new law prohibits punch-card voting systems and requires counties to adopt optical scan or other possible electronic voting systems that promise more reliability. Florida's counties received $24 million from the state over two years to modernize their voting equipment and $6 million for voter education programs and poll-worker training. The law mandated creation of a centralized voter registration database by June 2002 and provided $2 million to create it. Provisional voting gained adoption, with such votes subject to immediate review by county election officials. The law also clarified procedures for overseas military ballots, created a standard ballot design for the state, and instituted clear and uniform statewide definitions for determining a voter's ballot intent in disputed cases.

In the future, the state will certify vote totals eleven days after the election. The state elections canvassing commission, including the governor and two cabinet members appointed by him or her, will make the final certification. Recounts occur automatically if the vote difference between

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You Call This An Election? America's Peculiar Democracy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction - Peculiar, Indeed 1
  • Chapter I - What an Electoral System Can Do 11
  • Chapter 2 - Compared to What? 33
  • Chapter 3 - Why Turnout Fell 55
  • Chapter 4 - Direct Democracy or Legislative Government? 77
  • Chapter 5 - Four Controversies 97
  • Chapter 6 - What Sort of Democracy? 127
  • Conclusion - Less Peculiar 145
  • Notes 149
  • References 151
  • Index 161
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