More than 80 million Americans will go to the polls, and a record number of them--90%--will either cast their vote on a computer or have it tabulated that way. When that many people collide with that many high-tech devices, there are going to be problems. Some will be machine malfunctions. Some could come from sabotage by poll workers or voters themselves. But in a venture this large, trouble is most likely to come from just plain human error, a fact often overlooked in an environment as charged and conspiratorial as America is in today.
Four years after Congress passed a law requiring every state to vote by a method more reliable than the punch-card system that paralyzed Florida and the nation in 2000, the 2006 election is shaping up into a contest not just between Democrats and Republicans but also between people who believe in technology and those who fear machines cannot be trusted to count votes in a closely divided democracy.