Then came Florida, where thousands of voters confused by Palm Beach County's ballot design in the 2000 elections voted for the wrong presidential candidate, or for two candidates by mistake. The most common error: voters casting ballots for both Democrat Al Gore and Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan, indicating that they made a mistake the first time. Republican George W. Bush ultimately won the state by 537 votes.
"It opened up the Pandora's box," says Tova Wang, an elections specialist at Demos, a liberal advocacy group. "It sort of put elections under the microscope for the first time and unveiled a whole host of problems that go beyond voting machines."