Election Officials Fail To Certify Online Marking Tool Based On Technicality

In its second attempt, the Maryland State Board of Elections (SBE) again failed to certify an online voting tool that would assist disabled and overseas voters. As previously reported on Conduit Street, election officials cited security concerns when considering the tool back in April. During the July meeting, the tool was not certified based on a technicality in the board rules.

From an article in The Daily Record (full article can be accessed on The Daily Record website),

The tool allows disabled voters and members of the military serving overseas to access a blank ballot through the Internet. The voter electronically marks the ballot and then prints a paper copy that is mailed to the local board.

Ultimately, the board voted 3-1 in favor of the tool with Vice Chairman David J. McManus Jr., a Republican member, as the lone dissenting vote. The certification failed because board rules require a supermajority of four votes.

Following the April decision of the SBE, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) filed suit against SBE in the U.S. District Court stating that SBE’s decision not to approve a ballot marking tool is in violation of federal law. The suit asked the Court to order SBE to provide that technology in time for the June 24 primary.  While that did not occur, election officials believe there is still time to approve and implement the ballot marking tool prior to the general election in November.

Nikki Charlson, deputy administrator for the board, said Thursday’s outcome would not preclude the board from attempting to certify the system at a future meeting and have it in place by the November general election. She declined to give a deadline for when the system could be implemented and still be ready for November.

Additional coverage of this issue can be found in MarylandReporter.com.