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Imagine an upgrade that calls for untrained people with inadequate leadership to roll out a critical new technology under crushing deadlines. Then they must perform the upgrade under intense public scrutiny and cut the already-short timeline for completion in half while fostering ever-growing expectations for the project's impact.
The truth is, you don't even need to imagine it: This is the actual scenario that has led to one of the most criticized IT projects in recent historythe adoption of electronic voting systems in the United States.
As voters head to the polls on Nov. 7one-third of them voting on new e-voting machines for the first timethe story of the U.S. e-voting upgrade is long and littered with stories of failed careers, wasted money and abandoned equipment. The biggest wasted asset has been time, as many e-voting projects that were supposed to have been completed by now remain unfinished.
The U.S. Congress decided to embrace e-voting after the 2000 election, when presidential recounts kept the election in doubt for weeks before eventually being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.