Continuing on after break: Watching this US election affair from Canada, I hear some people advocating doing away with the electoral college system. It seems to me that, if the President were elected only by nationwide popular vote, and there were a close election, there'd have to be a recount nationwide -- and think of the time that would take and the confusion that the differing voting systems from state to state would cause!
There probably hasn't been a Presidential election where the nationwide popular vote was close enough to have made a recount necessary in that situation (correct me if my knowledge of American history is inadequate, which it likely is!), but I think this election is demonstrating that it *could happen*, and people should be prepared.
It seems to me that trying to count machine ballots by hand is one of the big screwups with this recount. It takes a lot longer by hand than by the machines, and there's the further element of the human vote-counters having to make value judgments as to what the voter intended to do, which of course gives the loser lots of scope to complain after then fact.
Perhaps a standardized voting system across the country would be a good idea. Perhaps it should be a return to paper ballots. A recount then would take only a bit longer than the original vote (since it would have to be done a bit more carefully). You have ten times the population we have, so you'd need ten times the vote-counters, which shouldn't be a problem.