It's a good time to pick up an electronic voting machine on the cheap—provided you're not a stickler for things like "accuracy" or "security." States are scrapping tens of thousands of pricey touchscreen systems in response to mounting concerns about the machines' reliability.
After the butterfly ballot debacle of the 2000 presidential election, in which scores of elderly Floridians revealed a surprising fondness for Pat Buchanan, electronic voting was touted as the way to avoid any such fiasco in the future. Congress passed the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which allocated some $3 billion in federal grants to help states upgrade their voting equipment—$2 billion of which had been spent by the end of 2007.
Now, however, many of those states—including Alaska, California, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Tennessee, and New Mexico—are ditching touchscreen kiosks with price tags as high as $5,000 each in favor of paper ballots.