There is no such thing as "the US system." Elections, including all of those for national office, are conducted by the individual states. Western states in particular are returning to paper in the form of mail-in ballots. Oregon and Washington are mail-in only; Colorado sends a mail-in ballot to every registered voter but still allows in-person voting at vote centers (last year, more than 80% of votes cast were cast by mail); Arizona and California have permanent no-excuse absentee ballot lists and both have more than 50% of votes cast being cast by mail.
The US (and the colonial areas before it was a country) has experienced at least three religious "Great Awakenings," the first starting circa 1730. These are generally associated with various sorts of social upheaval and/or populist movements, and the rise of new denominations. There are almost as many theories about why they occur as there are sociologists and/or historians who study them. My own (strictly amateur) interpretation for what is happening now is the collapse of rural America and the struggle to hold that off.
The US doesn't have a single power grid, it has three power grids that are almost completely independent of one another. Asking the renewable vs non-renewable question on a scale larger than the interconnect is inappropriate. And to some extent, asking the question on a scale smaller than the entire interconnect is an accounting fiction. Each of the three interconnects has a very different generating profile. Nevada is part of the Western Interconnect. Generation in the Western Interconnect as a whole runs 40-45% from non-fossil sources over the course of a year. The biggest contributor to that is conventional hydro power, with nuclear second. By 2016 or so, wind will overtake nuclear; sooner than that if any of the six commercial reactors operating in the Western Interconnect have major problems.
There have been a large number of nuts-and-bolts studies for doing low-carbon power in the US. All draw basically the same conclusion. It's straightforward to do in the Western Interconnect because of the available resources and geography. For the rest of the US it's an enormously harder problem.
Too often true in state governments as well. The executive branch struggles with COBOL on a mainframe because the price tag for the replacement system is $50M and the legislature won't pop for that. Often for political reasons -- different parties in control and we'll be damned if we'll cooperate with this Governor. Price tags for government software tend to be quite high because of the large number of obscure add-on requirements that have to be satisfied. For example, the system touches information that is classified by the law as "medical records" at some point -- HIPAA as applied to government agencies rears its ugly head. Incredible amounts of cruft have accumulated over the decades.
Thank goodness I wasn't ever in the position of having to write software under those conditions. But for three years as a legislative staffer I did get to sit in on post-mortem analyses for failed software projects.
A bill to restart the work at Yucca Mountain, or other western location, for a disposal site for eastern nuclear waste -- the vast majority of the commercial power reactors in the US are east of the Great Plains -- is one of the few things that would get the western states' Congressional delegations to vote unanimously, regardless of party affiliation. The last time it happened was for the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act.
Yeah, if you're properly affiliated with a university or state department of agriculture, are doing it for research purposes, and have agreed to all of the terms and conditions that the feds and your local state require. If you or I try to do it commercially, it's a federal felony.