Defects In 2004 Balloting Described
Brian Faler - April 19, 2005
It did not feature much in the way of butterfly ballots, hanging chads or protracted Supreme Court fights. But the first hearing yesterday of the Commission on Federal Election Reform made it clear that the 2004 election was not without problems.
Former president Jimmy Carter and ex-secretary of state James A. Baker III, who co-chair the commission, invited a dozen experts to American University to recommend ways to improve the nation's voting system. The commission will consider those suggestions, along with others expected at a second hearing in June, and submit its own recommendations to Congress.
Those recommendations are not expected until September, which is a good thing because the academics, advocacy group leaders and politicians invited to testify yesterday provided a dizzying list of electoral problems that might make some wonder how any ballots were counted in November.
[...] "In the 2004 presidential election, the United States came much closer to electoral meltdown, violence in the streets and constitutional crisis than most people realize," professor Richard Hasen of Loyola Law School said in his written comments. "Less than a 2 percent swing among Ohio voters -- about 100,000 voters -- toward Democratic candidate for president John Kerry and away from incumbent Republican President Bush would have placed the Ohio -- and national -- election for president well within the 'margin of litigation,' and it would have gotten ugly very quickly."
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