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Voters to Plummet from Sky

The dire predictions of massive voting problems today, electronic and otherwise, remind me of the leadup to Y2K. Remember how airliners were going to ...

horror-1.jpg The dire predictions of massive voting problems today, electronic and otherwise, remind me of the leadup to Y2K. Remember how airliners were going to be plummeting from the sky, power plants would shut down when the software that runs them crashed, and Y2K-addled computers would feed benefit checks directly into the shredder?

Of course, not much happened when the world's clocks ticked over to January 1, 2000. Some people say the four-digit-year problem was overblown from the get-go; others say we didn't have a disaster because there was time to address the problems in a timely manner, and everybody got their own little corners of the world ready.

My guess is that both were right, and that something like that will be the way the Voting Crisis of 2006 plays out, at least as far as the tekkie side goes: not a smooth ride, and not without problems here and there - maybe even a hung-up election or two - but no massive meltdown, no elections stolen by hackers.

Thousands of people who could not be more aware of what is at stake have been working thousands of hours across the country to get ready, updating e-voting software, testing the machines and training poll workers to handle new ways to vote.

This is not to suggest that election administrators are sleeping the sleep of the confident. But in a week I think we will find that the elections went about the way they always do and that we are still as much of a democracy as we were before Nov. 7, 2006.

John Martin is a senior editor for Governing.
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