Faced with a surge in voter registrations leading up to Nov. 4, election officials across the country are bracing for long lines, equipment failures and confusion over polling procedures that could cost thousands the chance to cast a ballot.
Nine million voters, including many in the battleground states of Ohio, Florida and Colorado, will use equipment that has changed since March.
"The voting process is going to be tested in a way it has not been in recent history," said Tova Wang, vice president for research at Common Cause, a government watchdog group.
Recent local primaries have offered warning signs.
In the District last week, initial tallies were inflated by thousands of votes, causing chaos that night, and officials have yet to explain the problem.
In Palm Beach County, Fla., more than 3,500 ballots went missing in an August primary, forcing workers to hunt through bins and leaving a judicial election still undecided.
Premier Election Solutions (ahem... aka DIEBOLD), the company that makes many of the nation's voting machines, last month acknowledged that software used in 34 states, including Virginia and Maryland, could cause votes to be dropped.
Between all of this and a potential flood of new voters on the scene, I'd guess there's a very real chance for complete and utter chaos. Naturally the chaos is most likely to occur in crucial battleground states, where long lines of voters tend not to be all lily-white.
Some new voter projections:
Indiana: 500,000 have registered since the beginning of the year.
Federal officials estimate that 2 million poll workers will be needed to handle the turnout, twice 2004's number and a goal states are scrambling to meet.
If you live in a battleground state and have the opportunity to vote early, that might be a wise idea. And if you won't vote early because you still haven't made a decision, well... what can I say about that? Best of luck to ya!