NOW on PBS: Will New Voting Machines Cause an Election Day Debacle?

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September 8, 2006

Programming Note

Airdate: Friday, September 8, 2006, at 8:30 p.m. on PBS.
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Will new voting machines cause an Election Day debacle? This time on NOW.

Will new voting machines cure election headaches or cause them? The Help America Vote Act divided 3.1 billion dollars among all 50 states to update their voting systems with new technology. On Friday September 8, at 8:30 pm, NOW takes a close look at one Michigan county on Primary Day to see how the new machines are working, but also checks in on other states, including Texas, Iowa, New Mexico, and - you guessed it - Ohio. What we found was alarming - computer and human error, nonexistent contingency plans, and extreme vulnerability to tampering.

"We are no more certain today than we were in 2000 that we will not have an embarrassing moment and a tragic outcome in this year's election," Deforest Soaries, former Chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, told NOW.

Soaries and electronic voting experts say the government's requirement to use the new machines has been implemented too quickly and without careful scrutiny, resulting in a dangerously flawed technology delivering on democracy's greatest promise. This time on NOW.

Note: In addition to offering video and audio versions of the television broadcast and web extras, the NOW website at will be debuting a weekly web-exclusive "Behind the Headlines" look at current events. This week, Maria Hinojosa interviews Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997-2002 for a look at how the world views America five years after September 11.