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Bad news for voters seeking assurances that the fiasco of election day, 2000 -- with its chads, butterfly ballots, disputed recounts, and vanishing voter rolls -- can't happen again: it can. Witness the first meeting, on Wednesday, of the Election Assistance Commission wherein a panel of voting advocates and techies derided the very electronic voting systems that were supposed to save us from a repeat of Florida.
It doesn't exactly inspire confidence that the panel, written into existence by the Help America Vote Act more than a year ago, is meeting only now, six months before election day.
In the meantime, $3.8 billion of federal money earmarked to improve U.S. voting has been stalled, leaving problems unsolved for the November election. Still, 50 million people are set to vote in November using touchable monitors or digital levers. As the Washington Post's Dan Keating put it, the U.S. has gone about voting reform completely backwards--by pushing for new systems before even making sure they work.