06 election will be an electronic one

And many jurisdictions haven't upgraded, tested or worked out the kinks of their e-voting machines. The risk is high and many counties are biting their nails.

A committee of National Research Council experts took a look at e-voting for the upcoming election, the Washington Post reports, and what they found is not good.

"Some jurisdictions -- and possibly many -- may not be well prepared for the arrival of the November 2006 elections with respect to the deployment and use of electronic voting equipment and related technology, and anxiety about this state of affairs among election officials is evident in a number of jurisdictions."

Not well prepared? That's one way of saying it.

"This is a moment of truth for electronic voting," said panel co-chairman Richard L. Thornburgh. "You've got a lot of people who are working for the first time with the new technology. It should impart a greater note of caution than what you might normally attend to a regular election."

The report is "a caution sign, not a stop sign, but not a clean bill of health for a technology that everyone recognizes there may be problems with," Thornburg said.

The analysis notes several potentially problematic areas. Some states may be unable to comply with the 2002 law's deadlines for upgrading technology, meaning it is not yet clear whether they will use old or new technology this year. There are questions about whether voters will be able to use the new equipment without confusion, and whether there is enough time to train poll workers.