BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - A major new study has found significant weaknesses in the American election system and one of the states with more flaws than most is Alabama.
The study, from the Pew Charitable Trusts, ranked states and the District of Columbia based on data from the 2008 and 2010 elections.
Overall, for both 2008 and 2010, Alabama ranked in the bottom five states in the nation in terms of problems with its election system. Mississippi ranked last both years.
The study looked at a variety of criteria in each election including wait times at voting places, lost votes and problems with absentee ballots including absentee ballots from members of the military and Americans living overseas.
Also of interest, the study found that cultural factors may affect voting rates in some states. Authors of the study noted that "states in the Deep South with high obesity problems seem to be having a problem getting people to the polling place."
Alabama has one of the highest obesity rates in the nation. The study found Alabama with one of the nation's highest rates of nonvoting due to disability or illness - 19 percent.