Miami-Dade County elections workers count absentee ballots in Doral, Fla., on Wednesday.(Photo: Alan Diaz, AP)
A dozen years after the 2000 presidential vote-count debacle, the
nation again was left waiting for Florida on election night. And the day
Unlike the hanging-chad disputes that turned the Bush-Gore
presidential race into a tortuous legal tangle that went to the Supreme
Court before the presidency was decided, this time the whole world
isn't watching. Florida, a huge battleground state, turned out to be
non-essential - President Obama was able to build an Electoral College
majority without it.
But for the people of South Florida, some of
whom waited as long as seven hours in line to cast a vote, another
ballot meltdown is frustratingly familiar.
What's wrong with Florida when it comes to voting?
Stewart, an MIT political scientist who is co-director of the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology-CalTech voting technology project,
says election problems in Florida are like the old computer joke about
problematic software: "It's not a bug - it's a feature.''
he says, has taken steps since 2000 to modernize and improve its voting
systems, but they remain plagued by poor management, lack of capacity
and systemic dysfunction. The system manages to work in most counties
but seems to fail repeatedly in the biggest ones where the population is
large and diverse.