Just how screwed up will voting be on Election Day?

With millions of new voters heading to the polls this November and many states introducing new voting technologies, election officials and voting monitors say they fear the combination is likely to create long lines, stressed-out poll workers and late tallies on Election Day.

At least 11 states will use new voting equipment as the nation shifts from touch-screen machines to the paper ballots of optical scanners, which will be used by more than 55 percent of voters. About half of all voters will use machines unlike the ones they used in the last presidential election, experts say, and more than half of the states will use new statewide databases to verify voter registration.

With Senator Barack Obama’s candidacy expected to attract many new voters who may never have encountered a voting machine, voting experts and election officials say they are worried that the system may buckle under the increased strain.

“I’m concerned about the weak spots,” said Rosemary Rodriguez, chairwoman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, which oversees voting. “So much depends on whether there will be enough poll workers, whether they are trained enough and whether their state and county election directors give them contingency plans and resources to handle the unexpected…”

No one really knows which will be worse. Lousy technology or uninformed voters.

No, I don’t mean the usual uninformed voters, the idgit vote. Just folks trying to figure out how to vote for the first time. We haven’t exactly been overwhelmed with sparkling choices that motivated folks to head for the polling place.

Plus, we still have most of the same old political machines in charge of polling places and vote-counting.

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