By Correspondent
NBC News
updated 9/30/2004 7:40:37 PM ET 2004-09-30T23:40:37

The presidential election in 2000 was a history-making debacle that led to sweeping reforms in Florida. No more punch card voting machines, or infamous butterfly ballots, or hanging chads.

After a multi-million dollar overhaul, about two-thirds of Florida voters will use new electronic machines. They got a mostly successful test run in last month's primary.

"We reformed our laws so they are model election laws," says Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla.

So are the state's problems solved? 

"It's naive to think that we're not going to have problems, this being Florida. Of course we're gonna have problems!" says Howard Simon of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). "They may just not be the same problems."

The ACLU and other watchdog groups will be at polling places on Election Day, perhaps with hidden cameras.

Both Republicans and Democrats have teams of lawyers ready to challenge any irregularity and trying to reassure voters.

"The fact of the matter is that everyone should feel comfortable knowing their vote is going to count. But they don't," says Steve Zack with Sen. Kerry's legal team.

One reason people are uncomfortable — electronic voting machines. They prompted a lawsuit demanding paper receipts as a backup.

And this week former president Jimmy Carter — part of the blue ribbon commission to recommend changes — warned "a repetition of the problems of 2000 now seems likely" because Florida election officials favor President Bush.

On top of that, four hurricanes have hammered the state, leaving some voters indifferent to the election and in some cases unable to vote.

"There are areas where literally there are no precincts," says Bush-Cheney '04 Florida co-chair Alberto Cardenas. "They've been destroyed by Mother Nature. We have some other areas where people are not in their homes any longer and you don't know how to reach them."

It's part of the reason the president has toured storm damaged areas twice in two days and Sen. Kerry is campaigning in Florida after the debate. Both men dream of winning by a large enough margin that voting problems won't matter.

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