San Diego Come November, more Americans might cast their ballots on paper than in any other election in U.S. history.
That wasn't supposed to happen. If everything had gone according to the government's $3 billion plan to upgrade voting technology after the hanging-chad fiasco in Florida in 2000, that sentence would read "electronic machines" instead of paper.
Instead, thousands of touchscreen devices are collecting dust in warehouses from California to Florida, where officials worried about hackers and technical glitches have replaced the equipment with scanners that will read paper ballots.
An Associated Press Election Research survey has found that 57 percent of the nation's registered voters live in counties that will be relying on paper ballots this fall. But the number of registered voters in jurisdictions that will rely on electronic voting machines has fallen from 44 percent during the 2006 midterm elections to 36 percent.
Because of growth in the electorate over the past decade, expansion of absentee voting rules, and expectations of high turnout for the contest between Barack Obama and John McCain, some experts are predicting a record number of Americans will cast ballots on paper this year.