By Jim Drinkard, USA TODAY
Election officials across the nation are scrambling to meet a Jan. 1 deadline to replace outmoded voting machines with equipment that is supposed to be more accurate -in the middle of a controversy over voter verification.
'The people who are trying to get this done at the local level are just running blind,' said Keith Cunningham, president of the Ohio Association of Election Officials. 'I hope there's not a 'train wreck,' but that term is being used quietly in conversations among election officials.'
Adding to the confusion is a new Massachusetts Institute of Technology study that found problems with paper backup for electronic voting machines. In the study, only 8% of test voters using paper backup caught machine errors, compared with 85% using a system where their vote choices were played back to them by a computer-generated voice through headphones.
'The federal government is a year to 18 months behind its own time frame but refuses to adjust the deadlines that counties are facing,' Cunningham said. 'We are on the verge of wasting one of the biggest pots of money the federal government has ever put forth.'