Ewen MacAskill
The Guardian,
October 22, 2008

A “perfect storm” could be building for US election day on November 4 because of a combination of sky-high voter interest, new ballot machines and a shortage of poll staff, the independent Pew group warned yesterday.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

The Washington-based group set out a long series of problems still facing the US despite reforms aimed at avoiding a repeat of the 2000 and 2004 debacles.

The launch of the 77-page report came as legal clashes over voter registration and hours-long queues formed outside booths set up for early voting in states across the US. Voting is now underway in 46 of the 50 states, though election day is still almost a fortnight away.

Virginia, a battleground state, said it will step up security at polling booths on November 4. Election officials fear trouble because of passions aroused by the election, by long queues, or by people being told they are not eligible to vote.

Doug Chapin, director of Pew’s electionline.org, said: “People talk about meltdown. It is over-optimistic to think that 130 million people can vote and something does not go wrong … We have spent eight years sorting the plumbing, but on November 4 we are going to crank up the system.”

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