he morning after the 2000 election, Americans woke up to a disturbing realization: our electoral system was too flawed
to say with certainty who had won. Three years later, things may actually be worse. If this year's presidential election is
at all close, there is every reason to believe that there will be another national trauma over who the rightful winner is,
this time compounded by troubling new questions about the reliability of electronic voting machines.
This is no way to run a democracy. ...
Throughout this presidential election year, we will be taking a close look at the mechanics of our democracy and highlighting
aspects that cry out for reform. Among the key issues:
An accurate count of the votes cast is the sine qua non of a democracy, but one that continues to elude us. As now-discredited
punch-card machines are being abandoned, there has been a shift to electronic voting machines with serious reliability problems
of their own. . ...
Our ideal of government with the consent of the governed presumes universal participation in elections, or something close
to it. ....
The founders intended the House of Representatives to be the branch most responsive to the passions of the people. But
with the rise of partisan gerrymandering, redistricting to favor the party in control of the process, competitive House elections
are becoming virtually obsolete. ...
Thomas Jefferson advised that "elective government" is "the best permanent corrective of the errors or abuses of those
entrusted with power." His faith in democracy was well placed, but for elective government to play this critical role, the
elections must be inclusive and fair, and they must use machinery that works.