Next Big Reform: The Way We Vote ; Reinventing the Election Process Grabs Attention of State and Federal Lawmakers, Though Pricetag May Be Steep

By Gail Russell Chaddock writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, December 4, 2000 | Go to article overview

Next Big Reform: The Way We Vote ; Reinventing the Election Process Grabs Attention of State and Federal Lawmakers, Though Pricetag May Be Steep


Gail Russell Chaddock writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


As the presidential race extends yet another week into its "challenge phase," scores of legislators at national, state, and local levels are already working to make sure that an election like this one never happens again.

From amending the Constitution to chad-proofing ballots, election reform may be a first task for Congress and state legislatures across the United States. It's also creating a bonanza for entrepreneurs eager to move election technology into the 21st century - or at least out of the 19th.

Some proposals aim to work out kinks in the system: Decide what constitutes a vote before television crews converge outside the recount center. Scrap archaic voting machines and baffling ballots. Clean up voting lists. Train poll workers to cope with floods of new voters or absentee ballots.

Other suggestions, such as abolishing the Electoral College, reopen some of the toughest issues the Founding Fathers debated when they drafted the Constitution.

"It's pretty clear from this election that we need to modernize our voting equipment. Having a hodgepodge of systems using 19th- century technology doesn't cut it when we can put a man on the moon," says Eric Olson of the nonprofit Center for Voting and Democracy in Takoma Park, Md.

Upgrading and standardizing the voting process may be the first fix - and the punch-card ballot, the first casualty. Reps. William Delahunt (D) of Massachusetts and Lindsay Graham (R) of South Carolina are proposing legislation this week to develop national standards for the conduct of federal elections, including outlawing the ballots that introduced the world to the many ways voters can punch - but not quite - a piece of cardboard.

Congressman Delahunt had a crash course in dimpled and dangling chads when his 1996 congressional primary race wound up in the courts. He lost the race on primary night, but sued in state court to have more than 900 dimpled ballots counted as votes. They were, and Delahunt eventually won the seat by 108 votes. After that controversial recount, Massachusetts outlawed punch-card voting.

"Massachusetts fixed its ballot problem and used public outrage to help build the momentum to make changes," says Steve Schwadron, an aide to Delahunt.

Under the terms of the Delahunt/Graham proposal, a bipartisan commission, including state and local representatives, will study the "accuracy, integrity, and efficiency" of federal election procedures. Washington will also establish federal matching grants to help states upgrade their voting systems.

Any moves to dictate election policy to the states could run up against constitutional issues. But advocates of reform say there is a federal interest in how states manage elections for national offices.

Congress is gearing up for hearings on many of the glitches of Election 2000, including botched media coverage on election night, the timeliness and accuracy of vote counts, and mishandled overseas military ballots. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Next Big Reform: The Way We Vote ; Reinventing the Election Process Grabs Attention of State and Federal Lawmakers, Though Pricetag May Be Steep
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.