The election is over, and it has already become easy to forget the election administration lunacy that plagued many communities this year: long waits for voting, changing legal rules even while the election was under way, misprinted ballots, incorrect instructions given to voters, and various machine breakdowns. When close elections lead to recounts and jurisdictions undergo the legal equivalent of a proctology exam, the remarkable variety of maladies that plague the American electoral system are exposed. But when a candidate’s margin of victory exceeds the margin of litigation, we tend, as a nation, to rapidly develop electoral amnesia. We shouldn’t need a Bush v. Gore-style heart attack, though, to shock us out of complacency about an election system that fails in its most basic functions.
The long lines of frustrated voters that have characterized the last three presidential elections reflect deep problems with our democracy and how we administer it. President Obama acknowledged as much in his acceptance speech when he thanked everyone who went to the polls. “Whether you voted for the first time, or waited in line for a very long time — by the way, we have to fix that…,” he said.
He’s right. The country needs an election system governed by uniform rules administered with competence and political neutrality. Until we get one, we will continue to trade one series of election problems for another as we stumble toward the next 2000-style disaster.
The first problem is that we let openly partisan state and local officials run elections. Political players, in other words, make the rules and referee the game. A state’s chief election official might even be the campaign chair for a candidate in an election she administers. Every other democracy in the world has found some way to avoid this.
Partisan election administration may be the most deeply entrenched problem — and the hardest to change. Anyone who is now a statewide supervisor of elections was either elected or appointed by someone who was elected.
Full Article: Vote over, but election dysfunction remains – CNN.com.