Gonzales Poll Finds MD Voters Favor Funding Switch to Paper Ballots 2 to 1 October 23, 2007: News Release As the state legislature prepares for a special budget session next week, a new poll released today shows overwhelming support among Maryland voters for funding the switch away from paperless electronic voting machines. Conducted by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies last week, the telephone survey found 64% of voters statewide think Gov. O’Malley should fund the change from touch-screen machines to a system that uses paper ballots counted by optical scanners.
Governor O'Malley signs voting paper trail bill:
New, less expensive system will allow for recounts May 17, 2007 - SOV News Release Gov. Martin O’Malley signed legislation Thursday that calls for replacing Maryland’s paperless touch-screen voting system with a system that will provide a paper record to allow for recounts of close races. The “Voter-Verifiable Paper Records” bill, SB 392, was sponsored by Senator Edward Kasemeyer (D-Baltimore and Howard Counties) and passed the Senate unanimously. A companion bill, HB18, sponsored by Delegate Sheila Hixson (D-Montgomery County) passed the House unanimously both last year and this year. The transition will occur before the 2010 elections. [PRINTABLE PDF]
Another Voting Glitch Nov. 26, 2007 - Baltimore Sun editorial
The Baltimore Sun editorial board urged Governor O'Malley to fund the switch to optical scan voting in Maryland in the upcoming budget. While the Sun is right to be cautious about the use of any computers in our election process, their worries about accessibility are not warranted. A key component of the latest optical scan voting systems is a ballot marking machine that accomodates a greater range of disabilities than our present paperless touchscreen system. With all votes recorded on paper ballots, the new optical scan system will allow us to recover from computer malfunctions and verify the accuracy of all election results with proper auditing. The present system lacks both of these attributes...
Do the Math: The Real Costs of Maryland’s Voting System A SAVEourVotes Report for the Special Session
Maryland currently uses the most expensive type of voting system available — touch-screen Direct-Recording Electronic (DRE) machines. In Fiscal Year 2000, when most of Maryland’s counties used optical scan voting systems, the State Board of Elections’ annual budget was about $3.1 million. By FY2007, with the touch-screen voting system in place statewide, the SBE’s annual budget had skyrocketed to $29.5 million — nearly 10 times the cost of the previous system! And the cost is still rising...
Budget Cuts Put New Voting System for MD in Question Nov. 6, 2007 - WBOC-TV 16
A legislative subcommittee mulling budget cuts on Tuesday to address a state shortfall considered cutting $3.3 million from the State Board of Elections. That money was to be used to change the current voting system to one that uses paper ballots. See story
Database Glitch Complicates Rockville Elections Nov. 6, 2007 - Washington Post article and Avi Rubin’s blog
Thousands of residents who had not yet voted were mistakenly listed as having already cast absentee ballots because of a state database problem. The State Board of Elections, which prepares the voter database, took the blame for the problem, which affected about 11 percent of Rockville's 29,000 registered voters.
Report gives paper ballot system high marks: New CalTech/MIT study shows 80% of New Mexico voters
rated their voting experience as excellent or good. August 21, 2007 - New Mexico Business Weekly
New Mexico is the first state to move from a predominantly electronic voting system to a single, durable, paper ballot system statewide using optical scanners. "Our experience clearly demonstrates that states can transition to paper ballots in less than a year and conduct accurate and transparent elections," said Gov. Bill Richardson.
Diebold drops Lamone brochure June 29, 2007, Baltimore Sun
Diebold Election Systems withdrew a sales brochure yesterday featuring Maryland Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone praising the company's equipment after the governor and watchdog groups questioned whether the endorsement violated state ethics laws.
Diebold labeled the glossy, four-page brochure a "case study" of Maryland's experience with the ExpressPoll-5000 voter check-in equipment, which made its national debut in the state last year.
The marketing piece was distributed to potential clients at trade shows. baltimoresun.com/news/local/politics/bal-md.lamone29jun29,0,2353866.story?coll=bal-local-headlines
GOV. O’MALLEY SIGNS VOTING PAPER TRAIL BILL
New, less expensive system allows for recounts SOV News Release, May 17, 2007 Gov. Martin O’Malley signed legislation Thursday that calls for replacing Maryland’s paperless touch-screen voting system with a system that will provide a paper record to allow for recounts of close races. The “Voter-Verifiable Paper Records” bill, SB 392, was sponsored by Senator Edward Kasemeyer (D-Baltimore and Howard Counties) and passed the Senate unanimously. A companion bill, HB18, sponsored by Delegate Sheila Hixson (D-Montgomery County) passed the House unanimously both last year and this year. The transition will occur before the 2010 elections. [PRINTABLE PDF]
SAVEourVotes presents certificates to Del. Sheila Hixson, Speaker Michael Busch April 22, 2007 - SOV co-director, Rebecca Wilson (right in this photo), gave the awards April 22 to Hixson (center) for her dedicated sponsorship and to Maryland's Speaker of the House, Michael Busch (left), for his support of the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail bill that passed the House unanimously and became law. The presentation was made at the 20th District Democratic Breakfast Club honoring Busch. See the full report and certificate.
Testimony, U.S. House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives
April 18, 2007, By Avi Rubin, Johns Hopkins University, President of Independent Security Evaluators and author of "Brave New Ballot" (2006)
This written testimony was presented at a hearing of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives on April 18, 2007. Dr. Rubin reported that all of the studies assessing the security of the Diebold DRE, found serious security problems. The media covered these studies, and public sentiment began to shift away from the use of these machines. Also, awareness was raised that these machines cannot perform recounts, be audited, or recover from many different kinds of failures.
Docs point to E-voting bug in contested race April 17, 2007, Wired.com, by Kim Zetter
Symptoms consistent with a known software flaw in a popular electronic voting machine surfaced widely in a controversial election in Sarasota County, Florida, last November, despite county officials' claims that a bug played no role in the election results, according to documents obtained by Wired News.
Activists say the flaw might have contributed to the high number of lost or uncast votes in a now-contested congressional race.
Legislators act to keep vote count accurate April 12, 2007 - By Mike Himowitz, The Baltimore Sun
Although election officials who bought electronic systems have tried to write off critics as kooks and subversives, the tide has turned. Organizations such as TrueVoteMD and SaveOurVotes have done a classic job of organizing community support. Ordinary citizens and legislators are listening and acting. Maryland's legislation now calls for a sensible, hybrid voting system. Wisely, it rejects the notion of creating a paper record of an electronic vote by attaching a printer with a roll of paper to a touch-screen terminal. This would just add another layer of technology that could fail on Election Day.
Good News from Maryland Avi Rubin's Blog, Posted April 6, by Dr. Avi Rubin What a sudden turnaround. The Maryland Senate just passed a paper ballot bill. I have heard from several people (including a comment posted on my previous blog entry) and one reporter, but I have not yet tracked down the text of the new ...
Senate revives bill for paper ballots The Baltimore Sun, Capitol Notebook, April 6, 2007
The Maryland Senate revived yesterday a bill that would require voters to cast paper ballots and enable meaningful recounts in close elections.
The bill, which received preliminary approval from the Senate yesterday, essentially would scrap the state's existing high-tech computers, which operate much like ATMs but do not produce paper receipts.
Bill on Voting Paper Trail gets new life in Senate The Washington Post, Annapolis Notebook,
Friday, April 6, 2007; B05
The Maryland Senate revived a bill that would require electronic voting machines to produce paper records in the last days of the legislative session.
The bill, which would go into effect for the 2010 elections, is contingent upon funds being made available by lawmakers and the governor in two years.
Living wage bill moves ahead in Maryland
April 5, 2007, Washington Times, By Kristen Wyatt,
Associated Press Writer Senators moved ahead Wednesday on a separate, but similar, bill to the version recommitted March 26, that would require paper ballot records by the 2010 election.
Vote trail hits dead end in Senate
Bill to require paper records has likely failed By Jennifer Skalka, The Baltimore Sun, March 27, 2007
The Maryland Senate effectively sank a bill yesterday that would have required voting machines to generate a paper record that could be reviewed prior to election results being certified as official..."This is obviously a ploy to kill any hope of getting it done in time for an election," said Del. Sheila E. Hixson, the Montgomery County Democrat who sponsored a House version of the bill.
Election chief's standards could effectively end e-voting in state
March 27, 2007 - InsideBayArea, by Ian Hoffman
California's elections chief is proposing the toughest standards for voting systems in the country, so tough that they could banish ATM-like touch-screen voting machines from the state. For the first time, California is demanding the right to try hacking every voting machine with "red teams" of computer experts and to study the software inside the machines, line-by-line, for security holes. The proposals are the first step toward fulfilling a promise that Secretary of State Debra Bowen made during her 2006 election campaign to perform a "top-to-bottom" review of all voting machinery used in California. "Debra Bowen is holding up voting machines to the standards they deserve," said Avi Rubin, a computer science professor at Johns Hopkins University...
Is Diebold poised to quit the E-voting business? March 4, 2007, Associated Press, By M.R. Kropko
CLEVELAND (AP) - Diebold Inc. saw great potential in the modernization of elections equipment. Now, analysts say, executives may be angling for ways to dump its e-voting subsidiary that's widely seen as tarnishing the company's reputation.
Touch-screen voting still an act of faith [3 letters] March 4, 2007 - The Baltimore Sun
Three letters countering the Feb. 26 commentary by Donald F. Norris and Paul S. Herrnson, "Don't replace voting system". The first notes, "We simply do not know how the system has performed because we cannot audit or recount the results.
Paperless touch-screen voting is a faith-based system."
Robert Antonetti, Prince George's County elections chief dies February 28, 2007 - The Washington Post
Robert J. Antonetti Sr., 70, the chief administrator of election boards in Prince George's and Howard counties, died Feb. 24 after a heart attack. Antonetti was a controversial and outspoken advocate of election security and voter protection.
SOV members testify on the need for paper ballots
and optical scanning to a
at the Maryland House Ways and Means Commitee hearing on HB-18 Feb. 1.
MD: House bill to require paper trail for voters January 13, 2007 - The Baltimore Sun Election paper trail bill on House agenda January 13, 2007 - The Capital - Annapolis
Del. Sheila Hixson, Montgomery County, Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, introduced a bill Jan. 12 that would enable voters to review a paper record of their choices before their ballots become official and ensure the accuracy of future elections.
The integrity and accuracy of state elections has been an issue ever since Maryland switched to touch-screen voting machines, which are susceptible to fraud and failure. Last November, voting machines in Sarasota County, Fla., did not register the choices of 18,000 voters.... MD: Prince George's County: Two-thirds of precincts were short on machines January 13, 2007 - The Washington Post Election chief says Prince George's was
short on voting machines January 13, 2007 - The Baltimore Sun
Only one-third of the 206 voting precincts in Prince George's County were provided with as many voting machines as required by law last Election Day, a failure that caused long lines frustrating, angering voters, and forcing many to leave without casting their ballots. At the University of Maryland, for example, one voting station was supposed to have 12 machines but was provided with four. Students did not finish voting until 2 1/2 hours after the polls closed. State law requires one machine for every 200 registered voters....
U.S. bars lab from testing electronic voting Jan. 4, The New York Times, By Christopher Drew
A laboratory that has tested most of the nation’s electronic voting systems has been temporarily barred from approving new machines after federal officials found that it was not following its quality-control procedures and could not document that it was conducting all the required tests. ... Ciber Inc. ... has also come under fire ... over its plans to test new voting machines ... New York could eventually spend $200 million to replace its aging lever devices....
Lawmakers likely to try changing voting, election laws Jan. 2, Associated Press: ABC2news.com, Baltimore
"...in the legislative session that begins next week... Early voting, paper records of ballots cast on electronic voting machines and new campaign rules are in the mix..."
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