John Fund has a sobering warning about election problems, particularly those related to provisional ballots:
It’s a safe bet you will hear more about provisional ballots before Election Day–and a lot more if the election goes into overtime again. The provisional ballot could become this year’s equivalent of Florida’s infamous punch-card ballot, and it could decide who wins the presidency.
This is the first election held under the Help America Vote Act of 2002. One of its key provisions is a requirement that people in all 50 states whose names aren’t on voter registration rolls be given a provisional, or conditional, ballot that will then be cross-checked with public records after the polls close to see if it is valid. “If I had to pick the one thing that will stir up anger and lawsuits on Election Day, it will be provisional voting,” says Doug Chapin, executive director of the nonpartisan Electionline.org.
UPDATE: At Slate, election law expert Rick Hasen goes through 5 nightmare scenarios of what might go wrong, though he sees the chances of a disaster as small:
The chances of post-election litigation affecting the outcome of this election are in fact small—probably well under 10 percent. It is not that Election Day problems are unlikely—I think they are guaranteed—but they would have to occur in a place where the resolution of the problem could affect the outcome of the election. Think battleground states like Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Colorado. We should hardly find that statistic comforting: Even a small probability of a big disaster is worth concern. Here I consider five nightmare scenarios for how the election could remain in doubt after Nov. 2 and how all of them raise the possibility of court intervention. Ironically, the Florida debacle and our reactions to it have increased, not decreased, the chances of a post-election problem.
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