The mechanics of voting in the United States turn on increasingly aged (and sometimes infirm) voting machines, obtained and maintained by local and state authorities.
Allentown, New Jersey is a small borough with a voting population of just over 1,000. As of last November, there were four voting machines on hand. Unfortunately, on the morning of election day, when the state was to vote on its next Governor, officials discovered that none of them worked.
Voters were provided with paper ballots while town officials scrambled to find machines. At 10:30 that morning, four hours into the voting day, replacement machines did arrive: but they didn’t work either. Voting by paper continued, and at the end of the day the ballots were counted by hand.
The Thing to Know:
There is real reason to be concerned that the failure at Allentown was not an anomaly. More than two thirds of the counties in the country use machines that are at least a decade old.