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NPR: Voters May Face Slower Lines In 2012 Elections [View All]

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-26-11 06:57 PM
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NPR: Voters May Face Slower Lines In 2012 Elections
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Voters May Face Slower Lines In 2012 Elections

by Pam Fessler

September 26, 2011


One of the big concerns is the impact budget cuts will have on voting machines. Most places bought new electronic equipment after the 2000 elections. But Charles Stewart, an election expert at MIT, says this new equipment is much more costly to maintain than the old punch-card and lever machines. (The reference to low cost lever machines evokes a cough from Wilms.)

"I don't think many people, myself included, really recognized back a decade ago that this computerized equipment has a relatively short lifespan," he says.

In fact, many machines will only last about 10 to 12 years before they need to be replaced, and that time is just around the corner for many jurisdictions. Stewart says some election offices are even deferring or canceling maintenance contracts to save money.

"The worry, of course, is that either machines will fail, causing localities to have to kind of double up or to borrow machines, or not have enough on Election Day," he says.


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