Governor Indicates Implementation While Attorney General Appeals Online Ballot Ruling

As reported by the Washington Post, Governor O’Malley indicated that Maryland should comply with a recent federal ruling  to implement an online ballot marking tool for disabled and overseas voters, although the Attorney General recently indicated he plans to appeal the ruling.

As reported by the Washington Post,

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said Tuesday that he is “inclined to believe” that Maryland should comply with a federal judge’s ruling that the state allow disabled voters to fill out absentee ballots online before printing and mailing them to election officials.

O’Malley’s comments came a day after the state attorney general’s office, which is representing election officials in the case, announced its intent to appeal the ruling. The office indicated, however, that it does not intend to seek a stay in the case, meaning the ballot-marking technology will be in use for the November election.

As reported in the Baltimore Sun,

The attorney general’s office filed a notice of intent to appeal Monday but did not spell out its objections to the ruling.

The State Board of Elections attempted to certify the online ballot marking tool at two of its Board meetings. In the April meeting, election officials cited security concerns and did not approve the tool. During the July meeting, the tool was not certified based on a technicality in the board rules. This led the National Federation of the Blind to file a lawsuit in the federal court requesting that the State be ordered to implement on online ballot marking tool for the upcoming November election.

In a bench trial this month, attorneys for the state argued that Maryland should not be forced to use the tool given it had not been certified.

In a 33-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett, sitting in Baltimore, said the election board’s decision denied disabled plaintiffs “meaningful access to the State’s absentee ballot voting program as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.”

The ballot marking tool has already been installed and is currently being used by disabled absentee voters.

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