We finally got it right for now

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Elections are an essential part of any democracy. People can’t rule themselves without them. But it is important to ensure these elections aren’t elections in name alone by giving people confidence they can vote for who they want to vote for, their vote actually counts and the results of the election truly reflect their will.

For a while now in Alabama, that hasn’t been the case.

The most extreme examples of the flaws in our state’s election system are those featuring votes cast by the deceased and multiple votes by the same person. We hope a new statewide computerized system for voter registration can help end these types of ridiculous situations, which could, if they haven’t already, damage the faith Alabama residents have in their state government.

That’s why a ruling last week by U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins was good news. Watkins determined Alabama finally now has a system for voter registration that meets federal requirements, which could help repair some of the existing damage to our state democratic system’s reputation.

Former Secretary of State Nancy Worley missed the original Jan. 1, 2006, deadline, and then the task was given to Gov. Bob Riley. The governor needed a two-month extension on his Aug. 31 deadline.

Riley’s legal adviser, Ken Wallis, told the Associated Press that our state received $12.4 million to develop the computer system, and more than $10 million has been spent so far.

So, no more dead people, felons or people without a verifiable Social Security or driver’s license number can vote.

What a novel concept.