The United States is heading for another catastrophe in its voting system equivalent to the notorious “hanging chad” affair that shook the country in 2000 and propelled George W Bush into the White House, experts on electoral procedures are warning.
The voting technology deployed by most states around the country is now so antiquated and unreliable that it is in danger of breaking down at any time, the experts say. Some states are having to go on eBay to buy spare parts for machines that are no longer manufactured.
The extent of decay in America’s electoral infrastructure is laid bare in a new report from the Brennan Center, a nonpartisan institute at the New York University School of Law specializing in democracy and justice. Having consulted more than 100 voting specialists in all 50 states, the center concludes that the country is facing an impending crisis in the way it conducts elections.
As Louisiana’s secretary of state Tom Schedler put it to an official hearing recently: “It’s getting a little scary out there.”
With the presidential election of November 2016 fast approaching, it is already very late in the cycle for states to be able to update their technology in time. Yet most states are operating voting machines that are perilously close to exceeding their sell-by-date, Brennan has found.