Election 2000: Is This Any Way To Vote?

The election without end has made at least one thing clear: our voting system is a mess. Can it be fixed?

It was 10 O'clock on election night two weeks ago, and poll watchers in the small Georgia town of Dallas had a problem. The weather was humid and rainy. Now their vote-counting machine was rejecting thousands of punch-card ballots because the cardboard had warped in the damp night air. What to do? Break out the blow-dryers! "As weird as it sounds, it's standard procedure," says Fran Watson, election superintendent for Paulding County, where Dallas is located. "We blow a hair dryer over them, and then they'll go through."

Three cheers for democracy in action. But should the future of free...

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