Election Day Voting Meltdowns
Experts are preparing for a third straight presidential election with serious difficulties in administering and counting the votes.
While the two campaigns Tuesday accused one another of trying to steal or suppress votes, experts in election administration are focusing on the old standbys: Faulty machines, questionable voter lists, last-minute litigation.
The likely trouble spots, the experts say, include two familiar election reprobates: Ohio and Florida. But there are also some new entrants, as the broad new playing field of the 2008 presidential election means more states are competitive, more citizens are participating, and the potential for Election-Day meltdowns like the notorious administrative collapse in Florida in 2000 has increased. Many pointed, in particular, to Colorado as the possible source of a late night November 4, while others suggested that record turnout in states like Virginia and Georgia could challenge local election officials.
But despite eight years of federal and state efforts to create a more standardized, higher-tech national framework for election administration, most state votes will still be administered by county election boards whose competence and equipment vary wildly.
Of course, it doesn’t help that we’ve spent those years mostly going in the wrong direction: toward electronic voting rather than simpler, standardized paper mark-sense ballots.
The silver lining this year, at least in terms of tension, is that these perennial issues really only matter when the election is close. As detailed this morning, it appears that we’re in for a blowout.