Florida, Again?

The latest Florida voting debacle, seen in Tuesday's primary, simply, and sadly, underscores a need for greater momentum toward electoral reform.

While many states busied themselves with such efforts in the wake of Florida's hanging, dimpled, and pregnant chads in 2000, they've been sidetracked by tight budgets and antiterrorist security.

Other states simply sat on their hands. In fact, comprehensive reform passed in only four states: Maryland, Minnesota, Georgia – and Florida.

Yet even after Florida spent some $32 million to upgrade its election system, some of its new "touch screen" machines malfunctioned Tuesday, and poll workers were in short supply and poorly trained.

The result: frustrated voters and possible recounts.

In fact, Florida's election-day troubles were so pervasive that Gov. Jeb Bush made a decision to keep the polls open an extra two hours. But that move caused confusion, too. Election officials discovered they had no set way of getting the word out to each precinct.

Florida should be a loud wake-up call to voters everywhere, who themselves need to hold elected officials accountable when those officials fail to run an efficient and accurate ballot system. Otherwise, the bedrock of democracy will be eroded.

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