From the President of the American Arbitration Association (AAA): Moving beyond the Ballot Box

Article excerpt

As this issue of Dispute Resolution journal goes to press it has been roughly three weeks since Americans went to the polls to select a new president, only to have the election and, indeed, the election process become embroiled in seemingly endless and often acrimonious dispute. The ensuing tug-of-war between the candidates, their advocates and supporters, and the Florida and Federal courts suggests-beyond the usual calls on both sides of the issues for electoral and procedural reform-that the implementation of a rapid-response impartial alternative dispute resolution methodology could perhaps have assisted in bringing about a fast, definitive conclusion to the post-election turmoil. It is, in fact, surprising that in an age in which the nation's chief executive, national and state legislatures, and the judiciary increasingly support the expansion of ADR and advocate its use through a wide variety of measures, consideration of the potential value of ADR in this situation appears to have eluded those who could use it the most.

At the very least, the confusion engendered by the balloting situation in Florida highlights the need for a migration toward secure telephone and online voting systems that eliminate the plethora of problems with card systems. This would have broad application, not just for national, state, and local elections for public office or state referenda, but for elections in the schools and labor sectors as well.

The AAA already offers electronic voting systems as an integral element of our national election services. …