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Another Election, More Pain At The Polls

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-30-08 05:25 PM
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Another Election, More Pain At The Polls
Another Election, More Pain At The Polls
With Voting Controversies Already Rampant And Registration Increasingly A Burden, How Can The Process Be Improved?

by Eliza Newlin Carney

Monday, Sept. 29, 2008

Partisan disputes over ballot access and voter registration have escalated in recent days, dragging in both Republican presidential nominee John McCain and his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama.

McCain advisers are hammering on a favorite GOP villain -- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN -- accusing the community group of criminal activity. And Obama's campaign has filed suit to block Michigan Republicans from challenging voters who've lost their homes to foreclosure.

As usual, recent Republican complaints center on voter fraud, while Democrats allege that voters are being disenfranchised and illegally dropped from the rolls.

What's lost in the increasingly shrill attacks and hyperbole is a serious discussion of what's wrong with the nation's voter registration system, and how to fix it. Clearly, as registration-related lawsuits in Florida, New Mexico, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin attest, that system is not functioning as it should.

The surge in voter registration, coupled with predictions of record turnout on Election Day, have convinced some that another Florida-style meltdown is around the corner.

The problems, as detailed in a flurry of press conferences, congressional hearings, conference calls, reports and legal filings, are myriad. They include: disputes over voter lists, which, despite improvements required by the 2002 Help America Vote Act, remain error-riddled and controversial; obstacles faced by student voters, who are expected to turn out in record numbers on Nov. 4; efforts to challenge voters displaced by foreclosures; and questionable third-party voter registration drives.

Indeed, voter registration has emerged as the defining election management issue of 2008, overshadowing past disputes about touch-screen machines, paper trails and voter identification.

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