Hurry up and wait. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg

Elections Are Still a National Disgrace

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
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I need to go on a bit of a rant.

News item:

BOONVILLE, Ind. - Officials in a southwestern Indiana county say 3,700 early votes cast in the 2012 general election went uncounted because of an error by an electronic voting machine technician.

That news item is from yesterday, or about 16 months after the election (via Hasen).

We shouldn't be surprised. The way we conduct elections is a disgrace. We're supposed to be proud of our democracy, and yet we don't bother to ensure well-administered elections. Sure, federalism adds difficulty, but it's not that hard. If it was a priority, we would get it right.

Over the last few years, Republicans have expended enormous energy to make it more difficult for people to vote. In response, Democrats haven't done much except play defense. The recent Bauer-Ginsberg commission was constrained by a requirement that none of the remedies they proposed could involve spending any money, which means the only available consensus is to ignore serious problems.

(Bauer-Ginsberg did fine considering the constraints, but we're no closer to well-administered elections).

It's Election Day here in Texas, and I'll be voting in a bit (more on that later), but the whole thing is just depressing and frustrating.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

(Jonathan Bernstein covers U.S. politics for Bloomberg View. He is co-editor of "The Making of the Presidential Candidates 2012." Follow him on Twitter at @JBPlainblog.)

To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at

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Max Berley at