New Laws and Machines May Spell
By Ian Urbina
The New York Times
Thursday 19 October 2006
Washington — New electronic voting machines have arrived in Yolo County, Calif., but there is one hitch: the audio program for the visually impaired in some of them works only in Vietnamese.
"Talk about panic," said Freddy Oakley, the county's top election official. "I've got gray-haired ladies as poll workers standing around looking stunned."
As dozens of states are enforcing new voter registration laws and switching to paperless electronic voting systems, officials across the country are bracing for an Election Day with long lines and heightened confusion, followed by an increase in the number of contested results.
In Maryland, Mississippi and Pennsylvania, a shortage of technicians has vendors for new machines soliciting applications for technical support workers on job Web sites like Monster.com. Ms. Oakley, who is also facing a shortage, raided the computer science department at the University of California, Davis, hiring 60 graduate students as troubleshooters.
Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania are among the states considered most likely to experience difficulties, according to voting experts who have been tracking the technology and other election changes.
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