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Maryland


Maryland Attorney General Gansler Announces $8.5 Million Claim Against Voting System Manufacturer PDF  | Print |  Email
Maryland
By Maryland Attorney General   
December 24, 2008
State Seeks to Recover Costs Incurred to Provide Voters an Accurate, Reliable, and Secure System

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced that the State of Maryland has presented Premier Election Solutions (formerly known as Global Election Systems, Inc. and Diebold Elections Systems, Inc.) with a claim to recover costs the State incurred to correct flaws in the touch screen voting system supplied by the company.
 
In December 2001, the State contracted with Diebold Election Systems, Inc. (Diebold) to provide a touch screen voting system including hardware, software, documentation and support services. The State’s payments to Diebold under the voting system contract have totaled approximately $90 million. After the State’s initial acceptance of the new system, expert, independent investigations revealed concealed security vulnerabilities in the voting system. In response to those investigations, beginning in Fiscal Year 2004, the State and Diebold implemented measures to cure the deficiencies that were identified.
 
“The citizens of Maryland must have a voting system they can trust, and Diebold promised to provide such a system,” said Attorney General Gansler. “Yet the equipment supplied by Diebold had vulnerabilities that needed to be fixed before it could be used in State elections. Under the terms of the contract, the company must reimburse the State for its costs of fixing Diebold’s voting system to make it more accurate, reliable, and secure.”
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Study Predicts Long Lines at Maryland Polls in November PDF  | Print |  Email
Maryland
By SaveOurVotes.org   
July 23, 2008
Voting Rights Advocates Propose Plan to Reduce Wait Times

With high turnout predicted in the hotly contested presidential race, a recent study by physicist William Edelstein shows that many Maryland voters can expect to wait hours to vote in November’s elections. The study found that most polling places could experience wait times of more than 2 hours at some point on Election Day if voters take more than 6 minutes each to mark their ballots. The sites most likely to be affected are those in which a majority of voters arrive at peak voting times before and after the work day.

“It is a process similar to what everyone experiences on roads, as people in the Baltimore/Washington metro area know only too well,” said Dr. Edelstein of SAVE Our Votes (SOV), a nonprofit group advocating Secure, Accessible, Verifiable Elections for Maryland. “Traffic flows smoothly as long as the density is low. As volume increases, traffic gradually slows until, at some concentration, it locks up and cars accumulate into long lines which can take hours to clear.”

Maryland’s State Board of Elections (SBE) plans to spend $100,000 to rent additional voting machines for the November election to accommodate increases in voter registrations. But Edelstein’s study shows that the extra equipment will do very little to reduce the long lines that many voters encountered in Maryland’s 2004 and 2006 elections.

“There is no doubt that many voters who cannot wait will leave without voting, including the elderly, the infirm, people needing to get to work, or parents needing to care for children,” he said.
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Maryland Funds New Voting System PDF  | Print |  Email
Maryland
By SaveOurVotes.org   
April 06, 2008
Yesterday the Maryland General Assembly approved the Fiscal Year 2009 budget, including funding to move Maryland by 2010 to a less expensive, recountable voting system based on optically scanned paper ballots. This highly popular switch, favored by nearly two thirds of voters statewide, was enacted last year in matching bills sponsored by Sen. Edward Kasemeyer (D - Baltimore and Howard Counties) and Del. Sheila Hixson (D - Montgomery County) and passed unanimously by both chambers of the General Assembly, contingent on funding in this year’s budget.

“We are pleased that our lawmakers have acted wisely to protect our elections as well as our pocketbooks,” said Rebecca Wilson, co-director of SAVE our Votes, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working for Secure, Accessible, Verifiable Elections for Maryland . “The touch-screen voting system has raised our election costs to nearly ten times what they were previously, while providing no way to independently verify that our votes are counted correctly.”

Wilson has compiled budget data from Maryland ’s Department of Legislative Services documenting the exorbitant costs of electronic voting. The study, which may be downloaded from the group’s website and was featured Friday in an article in Wired, shows that county voting system costs have soared, too, even with the state picking up half the tab of buying and operating the electronic machines.
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Maryland: Governor O'Malley Funds Voting System Change PDF  | Print |  Email
Maryland
By Save Our Votes Media Release   
January 16, 2008
New, Less Expensive System Will Allow for Recounts

Save Our Votes (SOV) sent its congratulations to Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley today for including in his proposed budget for the next fiscal year funds for the purchase of a new voting system based on paper ballots counted by optical scanners in each precinct.
 
The Governor has long advocated replacing the state's paperless touch-screen system. His action today is supported by nearly two-thirds of Maryland voters, according to a recent statewide public opinion poll by Gonzales Research. [www.saveourvotes.org/releases]
 
"We are delighted that the Governor and the General Assembly have responded to the voters and moved forcefully to replace our risky system with one that will be both secure and cost-effective,
" Robert Ferraro, co-director of SOV said today.
 
The new system will allow voters to ensure that their votes are recorded as they intend to cast them, and provide a means for independent recounts, capabilities which are not possible with the current voting system. This change will bring Maryland into line with the many other states that have recently abandoned touch-screen voting in favor of voter-marked paper ballots counted by optical scanners. Florida expects to have optical scanners in place statewide before this year’s presidential election. California and Ohio have both enacted severe restrictions on the use of touch-screen voting machines after thorough reviews of their security and reliability.
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TrueVote Applauds O'Malley For Funding Transition to Paper Ballot PDF  | Print |  Email
Maryland
By TrueVote Maryland   
January 16, 2008
Urges Legislature to Keep Funding in Budget

Today, TrueVoteMD.org thanked Governor Martin O'Malley for including $3.4 million in his budget to transition Maryland back to a voting system based on paper ballots counted by optical scanners.

"This is a historic step for election integrity in Maryland.  Governor O'Malley promised to fund the bill and kept his promise.  A return to paper ballots is widely supported by the Maryland voters and will save the state money by reducing the costs of election administration. It is a smart fiscal decision as well as a good decision for the health of our democracy," said Kevin Zeese, Executive Director of TrueVoteMD.org. 

TrueVoteMD.org is the largest election integrity organization in the state with members in all of the states 23 counties.  It has worked for five years to put in place a voter verified paper ballot. "We are near the culmination of five years of citizen effort.  The final hurdle is to protect this funding from being cut from the budget by the legislature.   TrueVoteMD.org will be working with the legislature to ensure this transition is completed," said Zeese.
Maryland: 2008 Election Judge Training PDF  | Print |  Email
Maryland
By Avi Rubin, Johns Hopkins University   
January 10, 2008
This article was posted at Avi Rubin's Blog and is reposted here with permission of the author.

I attended my Maryland election judge training session today. It was a 3 hours class for returning judges. There was really nothing new for me. I've already worked 4 elections using the Diebold Accuvote machines, and we will be using them again this year. I did, however, notice a change in the tone of the class.


Right up front, the instructor told us that the three most important factors for us to consider are "Security, Integrity, and Accuracy". These three things were stressed throughout the day. The instructor talked about the 20/20 segment where a hacker was able to change tallies on the machine (I think it was Harri Hursti), and told us of a new tamper tape that was placed on the corner of the machine where there is a screw for opening up the casing. As before, I had a good look at this tamper tape and determined that it would be extremely difficult to tell if the tape had been voided or not. I think these tamper tapes are emperor's clothes designed to make administrators feel good. One of the trainers referred to it as the "Lou Dobbs seal", in reference to Lou Dobbs' coverage of e-voting problems leading up to the 2006 election.

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Maryland: Does Your Home Address Begin With a '5'? PDF  | Print |  Email
Maryland
By Avi Rubin, Johns Hopkins University   
November 09, 2007

This article was posted at Avi Rubin's Blog and is reposted with permission of the author.

 

Tuesday was not a national election, and there was no election in Baltimore County, where I live, but there were local elections in many places across the country. This Washington Post story describes some problems in a local election in Maryland.

"Rockville's voting was complicated by a glitch. 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's [voter registration] list inadvertently marked as absentee the names of voters with a home address that begins with the number 5."
My home street address is actually 5, so I might have been affected by this, if we had had an election this week.
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New Poll Shows Maryland Voters Favor Funding a Switch to Paper Ballots by More Than 2 to 1 PDF  | Print |  Email
Maryland
By SaveOurVotes.org   
October 23, 2007

Gonzales Survey Results Reveal 3 to 1 Support Among Some Demographic Groups


Download Survey Report

 

As the state legislature prepares for a special budget session to begin 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 that 64% of voters statewide think that Governor O’Malley should fund the change from touch-screen voting machines to a system that uses paper ballots counted by optical scanners.

Survey participants were asked: “Last spring Maryland's General Assembly voted unanimously to switch from touch screen voting machines to a less expensive system that uses paper ballots counted by optical scanners. This would ensure that votes are recorded as voters intend, and make recounts possible. The change will happen in 2010, but only if funded in next year's budget. Do you think the Governor should, or should not, provide funding for this change?”   

The survey revealed particularly strong support in some demographic groups, with 75% of Independents, 74% of Democrats, and 71% of African Americans favoring funding the switch. A majority of voters in every region of the state endorse the change.

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Maryland: Governor O'Malley Pledges to "Do Everything in My Power" to Fund Paper Ballots Bill PDF  | Print |  Email
Maryland
By SaveOurVotes.org   
September 10, 2007
Responding to a question from a caller on a Baltimore talk radio show on September 6, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (pictured at right) reaffirmed his commitment to moving the state from electronic touch-screen voting machines to an election system that uses voter-marked paper ballots counted with optical scanners by 2010.

Appearing as a guest on the Marc Steiner Show on WYPR radio, Gov. O'Malley said, "I think, given what other Marylanders are sacrificing for democracy abroad, we certainly have the ability to invest in protecting our election system here at home — protecting democracy in Maryland. So that's a promise I intend to be able to keep; and I'm going to do everything in my power to do so."

Last April the Maryland House and Senate unanimously passed a bill requiring that State elections be held using paper ballots beginning with the 2010 election. But a provision in the law renders it null and void unless the purchase of the necessary equipment is funded in the next State budget, which the Governor’s office is currently preparing.
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California Decerties Electronic Voting System - Including the System Used in Maryland PDF  | Print |  Email
Maryland
By SAVE Our Votes Media Release   
August 08, 2007
Citing Insurmountable Security Vulnerabilities, Secretary of State Disallows Use of Most Touch-screen Machines in February Primary Elections

In a late-night press conference convened just before the midnight deadline for voting system changes before next spring’s primary election, Secretary of State Debra Bowen last night announced widespread decertification of most types of electronic voting equipment used in California.

The withdrawal of certification for the equipment was the result of a complete top-to-bottom review of all election systems used in California. In her campaign for Secretary of State last fall, Ms Bowen, a former state senator, had promised a thorough study of the state’s voting systems, which she set in motion immediately upon taking office last January. The review consisted of four separate studies encompassing all aspects of the system: security, accessibility, system software, and a review of official documents related to the equipment.

“Secretary of State Bowen took the only responsible course of action in light of the seriousness of the study’s findings,” said Robert Ferraro, a Co-Director of SAVE Our Votes, a grass-roots citizens’ group working for Secure, Accessible, Verifiable Elections in Maryland. “This underscores the urgency of replacing our flawed touch-screen voting system with optically scanned paper ballots, as required by Senate Bill 392. Governor O'Malley must make it a top priority to fund Maryland’s transition to a more secure, reliable voting system."
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