Board of Elections Demonstrates Potential New Voting Systems

The Maryland State Board of Elections, in cooperation with the University of Baltimore, held a public demonstration recently of potential paper-based optical scan voting systems that may be proposed for elections beginning in 2016. Legislation that passed in 2007 requires the State to move from its current touch screen system to a paper-based optical scan system.

As reported by MarylandReporter.com,

Rebecca Wilson of SAVE our Votes said, “ The problem with the paperless touch screen system [is] you have no way of knowing if anything happens, there is no way to go back and see how the voter intended to vote…”

With paper ballots, “you can recover votes that have been lost, so you then end up with more votes, and more accurate records of the votes,” Wilson said. “Then if you need a recount, you can see how people actually intended to vote. Because in a close race that’s really important, you want people want to have confidence in the system.”

Although the article refers to two systems, three models were demonstrated, one by Everyone Counts’, one by ES&S, and one by Hart Intercivic. These models will also allow voters to access and make ballot suggestions using smartphones, tablets, and computers before submitting final ballots at the polls.

Implementation is anticipated for the 2016 election.

Board of Election officials will have adequate time to decide which system to implement. The current touch-screen system will be used in this year’s general election and any 2015 special elections. Funding is expected to be available in time to purchase the new voting system for the 2016 presidential election.
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