WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Long lines and long counts threaten to mar next month's U.S. congressional elections as millions of Americans put new voting machines and rules to the test, election officials and experts say.
The result could be delays in knowing whether Democrats capture one or both houses of the U.S. Congress, or whether President George W. Bush's Republicans keep control.
"In close elections, it may be days and weeks before a winner is known in a particular race," said Paul DeGregorio, chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, created to oversee a 2002 election law overhaul.
Note that George Bush now owns the Republicans. It’s not like they represent the people anymore. This is more of the same from a mainstream media that has gone to considerable length to keep the focus on President Bush.
But wait, I thought the Republicans were all but doomed this time around. How could there possibly be close elections with so much stacked up against Republicans by all accounts?
I guess it never hurts to have a good backup plan in place. Thus the Reuters report prepared people for the worst while reminding everyone that the Supreme Court “handed” President Bush the victory in 2000.
The election overhaul was passed after the 2000 vote, in which problems deciphering paper ballots in Florida helped fuel a five-week recount fight in which the U.S. Supreme Court handed the presidency to Bush.
The law mandated electronic voting machines with a "paper trail" backup, statewide voter registries and opportunities to cast a "provisional" ballot when a voter's eligibility is in question.
Many of the changes take effect this year, when one-third of voters will cast their ballots on new electronic machines, whose reliability in a national election is unproven.
What else could go wrong this time around?
According to Reuters the voting public has to fight against long lines, a shortage of trained poll workers and confusion after court battles over new state identification requirements; all the ingredients for the upcoming post election fight.
It might be germane to wonder why unreliable voting machines, long lines and untrained poll workers only seem to work against one half of the electorate. I imagine we will have to wait until after the election to read about that in some future report by the objective writers in the mainstream media.
Terry Trippany is a writer and editor at Webloggin