Current smartphones and tablets use capacitive screens, which are more sensitive to taps and touches. Smith mentioned that in some centers voters were given a pencil to help make selections on the screen when they have difficulty getting touches to register. ES&S confirmed to ABC News that the systems were last manufactured in 2006.
Aging and unrepaired machines
The type of touchscreen in the systems represents the age of the machines themselves.
"The very unsexy story of this election is the machinery we are using. It is getting older and older, and some of these things are 10 to 15 years old," Joseph Lorenzo Hall, a senior technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology, told ABC News.
But not only is the tech old, but the machines simply aren't being repaired or cared for.
"Why, after all this time and experience, is this happening still in 2012? What we think is that in some places they were actually starting out with fewer pieces of equipment than in the past," Smith said. Some districts reported to Verified Voting that as much as 25 percent of the equipment wasn't working. Other experts ABC spoke to said the same. Many cited examples like, while there were eight machines in a particular poll place last year, this year there was only five.
In Lee County, Fla., where some of the longest lines were, the Supervisor of Elections said that there was not a large enough backup supply of scanning machines. Districts simply hadn't repaired or replaced machines since past elections.
"You are going to have issues of the wear and tear over time. But everyone knows that counties and local districts have been under budgetary pressures," Chris Riggall, a spokesperson for Dominion Voting, told ABC News. "It is always a pressure to get funding for voting systems, when you have other demands at the local level, which is where all this happens." Dominion Voting provides in-person and help desk support for optical scanner systems.
Fixes for the future
Naturally, the proponents of online voting say that Internet voting is the right technology solution. In fact, when ABC spoke to Lori Steele, the CEO of Everyone Counts, a company that makes online voting solutions, she pointed to these electronic voting issues and said they will be the reason people turn to voting through the Internet.
However, others don't see the likelihood of Internet voting, due to heavy security concerns; they maintain a bigger change has to happen. "In two major jurisdictions election officials have reached out to technologists, to audit experts, to different language experts, to usability advocates in an effort to identify what they want in the next generation of voting systems," Smith said. "Our next voting system isn't just going to go to the current marketplace for the solution."
Then there are those who believe the biggest fix can come from a different technology -- the technology of organizing people. "It is a matter of management, not technology," Charles Stewart, a political science professor at MIT, told ABC News. "Having too few voting centers, having too few staff and not putting the resources in the right places. Really, it is a matter of management."
Others echoed that point, saying that much of the bottleneck of the lines happens as people check-in at the polls, not with the availability of working machines.
Whatever the solution, the experts agreed with the re-elected president of the United States: "We have to fix that."