Some states are raising last-minute security concerns over e-voting technology as much of the country prepares to switch over from mechanical to electronic ballots in time for the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
After antiquated punch-card ballots led to a contested vote count in Florida during the 2000 race, Congress passed, in 2002, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which offers federal assistance to states that replace mechanical voting machines by 2004.
Now, with the presidential primaries approaching, some critics are calling for a second look at the leading e-voting vendors' products--a move that could make some states fall behind schedule. At least one, Ohio, has indicated it will petition the government for an extension, likely delaying e-voting in that state until August, at the earliest.
"This is a storm that we've been waiting for," Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller said. Heller, whose state has been using electronic ballot boxes for 10 years in its largest county, advised U.S. senators on HAVA. "I think it's to be expected that, because there's change, there's going to be some uneasiness in this process."