A repeat of the Florida debacle in the 2000 presidential election is the fear of every election administrator. Despite the relatively complication-free 2008 election, we are working with fairly new federal legislation designed to ease election administration problems. The implementation of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) raises the question, how effective have reforms been? Could another Florida happen?
Helping America Vote is focused on the conflict between values of access and integrity in U.S. election administration. Kropf and Kimball examine both what was included in HAVA and what was not. Widespread agreement that voting equipment was a problem made technology the centerpiece of the legislation, and it has remedied a number of pressing concerns. But there is still reason to be concerned about key aspects of electronic voting, ballot design, and the politics of partisan administrators. It takes a legitimacy crisis for serious election reforms to happen at the federal level, and seemingly, the crisis has passed. However, the risk is still very much present for the electoral process to fail. What are the implications for democracy when we attempt reform?