As reported by Gazette.net, an independent analysis performed by consultant’s retained by the Department of Legislative Services has found that switching to an optical scan voting system would save the State money over the touch screen system currently in place. However, uncertainty remains over funding.
Aides to O’Malley (D) have reviewed the report, but a decision about whether it will be included in the fiscal 2012 budget proposal the governor will submit in January has not been made, said Shaun Adamec, a spokesman for the governor.
Although the study shows a cost savings in the out years, the state’s projected $1.6 billion deficit means any new spending will be heavily scrutinized, he said.
“There are a lot of priorities that need funding and a lot of these priorities that are depended on by a lot of our most vulnerable populations, and new voting machines don’t fall into that,” said Adamec, who did not rule out the new system being funded.
“That’s not to say such an expenditure won’t be considered, but it would be considered in the same context as all budget decisions are, [which is] ‘How does it impact families?'”
Last year at this time MACo went on record suggesting that committing massive new funds to replace a functioning voting system should not be a top priority, especially when counties would be forced to pay for the half of the new system. Considering the State’s fiscal constraints and those of the counties, these circumstance have not changed. Previous coverage of this issue can be found on the MACo blog.