Were the chaotic presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 an anomaly or a harbinger of things to come this November? Next to the campaign fundraising that?s under the constant spotlight trained on the center ring of the circus known as "buying of the president" is a side ring known as "fiddling with the election." Sometimes the acts there steal the show, as happened in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004.
As another election approaches, a politicized debate is raging about voter fraud and voter suppression, in which neither side can agree on the nature of the problem, and every solution put forward is derided as a bid for partisan advantage. The real question remains unanswered: Are the systemic problems of the last two presidential elections likely to recur when the presumptive nominees, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, square off in November?
Susan Q. Stranahan is a freelance journalist. For 28 years, she was a staff writer at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where she covered environment, business, and the courts. Her stories were a major component of The Inquirer’s coverage of the Three Mile Island accident, which won the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for general local reporting. Stranahan is the author of Susquehanna, River of Dreams, published by the Johns Hopkins University Press, and has written for the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Fortune, Mother Jones, and Time. She lives in Narberth, Pennsylvania.
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