of the bitter battles over the vote four years
ago brought heightened vigilance as well as new
items to the polling place, such as touch-screen
computerized voting and provisional ballots.
as Doug Chapin of the Election Reform Information
Project, a non-partisan monitoring group, says
actual problems were few and far between.
I would characterize the day as 'no big but lots
of littles' in terms of problems," he said. "We
haven't seen anything of the size or scope of what
happened in Florida in 2000. We
are seeing lots of scattered problems."
monitors say what problems that did arise were
in large part because of the voter turnout. Across
the country, voters stood in long lines, sometimes
for hours, to cast ballots. Chellie
Pingree, president of the public interest group
Common Cause, says many states were not prepared
to smoothly handle such an upsurge in voters.
didn't deal with many of the tricky problems," she
we're still finding polling places with machines
that don't work efficiently, with untrained poll
workers with too many problems, and just not enough
people to handle them."
voting machines, used in 29 states and Washington
DC for the first time, failed at some precincts,
delaying voting. In
some states, voters said they had never received
absentee ballots they had requested. Under
new procedures, they were allowed to cast provisional
ballots, ballots subject to verification of the
Chapin says the voter turnout strained the system.
think that any system is going to be under pressure
because of high turnout," he explained. "I
mean, when you've got a combination of new procedures
and large numbers of voters, which we have in many
jurisdictions, I think there will be some pressure."
and technology differ from state to state because
most electoral rules are set by the states, not
by the federal government. Some
states, nervous about the security or cost of the
new computerized voting technology, have remained
with paper or punch-card ballots.