Online Absentee Ballot Marking Approved for Military and Overseas Voters

The State Board of Elections recently approved the online marking of absentee ballots for military and overseas voters for this fall’s presidential election.  As previously reported on Conduit Street, implementation of this change was pending an opinion from the attorney general indicating whether the Board would need to seek Federal and State certification of the process.  At question was whether the online marking software constituted a new voting system or whether it is part of an existing system.  From MarylandReporter.com:

The AG supported the board’s premise that the wizard was only a part of the voting system. Sen. Edward Kasemeyer, chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee, had requested the opinion last spring after legislation was introduced to waive certification requirements. The legislation did not pass.

The formal opinion signed by Attorney General Doug Gansler reads: “It is our opinion that the State Board may implement the ballot-marking wizard for military and overseas civilian voters without obtaining certification under section 9-102. . . The proposed technology – commonly referred to as a ballot-marking ‘wizard’ – allows voters to mark selections electronically on a downloadable ballot before it is printed, but it does not include a capability either to ‘cast’ or ‘tabulate’ votes. The ballot wizard, therefore, does not itself meet the definition of ‘voting system.’”

Some at the meeting expressed concern that the use online voting could result in voter fraud.

In comments prior to the meeting, [Rebecca Wilson of SAVEourVotes.org] said her biggest concern was the effect the new online policies would have on the results of the general election this fall.

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