In the world of iPads, Google Glass and even bitcoin, voting technology remains stuck in a virtual dark age. Nearly 14 years after the 2000 election recount debacle in Florida, election officials now face the challenge of replacing voting machines that are on their last legs in a rapidly changing tech world that’s moved even beyond the changes spurred by that voting mess. Transitioning to modern voting machines, however, won’t be easy due to a lack of advanced machines, small budgets and a burdensome regulatory process. The next frontier to replace aging and unreliable machines should be commercially made and software-only products, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration said in a January report. “Tablet computers such as iPads are common components of these new technologies. They can be integrated into the check-in, voting and verification processes in the polling place,” the report said. President Obama formed the 10-member commission to help streamline future elections in the wake of long waits at polls in 2012. Calling the state of voting technology an “impending crisis,” the commission urged jurisdictions to begin exploring new equipment to prepare for elections over the next decade.
Most existing voting machines were purchased in the mid-2000s, after Congress appropriated $3.9 billion to states in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002.
… The Verified Voting Foundation is another group that has been tracking states’ voting technology and its effect on election turnout. Its president, Pamela Smith, attended a conference in early 2012, where one experienced Midwest election official told her about equipment breaking down in her area. “She said in her pre-primary testing, 25 percent of equipment wasn’t working at all. My jaw just hit the table,” she told The Hill.
Now, Smith fears the midterm elections this November could mirror the breakdown of machines from two years ago. “There’s probably more equipment that may have broken down in the interim,” she said. “The only other thing that’s going to help is that it is a big two-year election, but it’s not the four-year, so there may be slightly lower turnout.”
Full Article: Problem at the polls: Tech stuck in past | TheHill.