State Approves New Voting System – Will Cost Counties $14M

The Board of Public Works, composed of Governor Martin O’Malley, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot,  approved a $28 million contract this week to replace Maryland’s touch screen voting system with a new optical scan paper-based system. This new system will be in place for the 2016 Presidential Election.

As reported by the Baltimore Sun,

The contract comes more than seven years after the legislature decided the state should replace tens of thousands of touch screens deemed unreliable and susceptible to fraud.

Since then, arguments and tough budget times have repeatedly delayed efforts to replace the machines with a system that has a verifiable paper record.

Members on both sides of the aisle support the change to a paper-based system.

“We, for a generation of elections, have had no paper trail,” said Del. Jon Cardin, a Baltimore County Democrat and a leading proponent of scrapping the touch-screen system.

“This is long overdue,” House Minority Leader Nic Kipke said Tuesday of the new machines. “It’s something that the legislature has been asking for at least six years. A paper-verified voter system is essential to restore voter integrity to the system and reduce the errors that we saw in the last election.”

As required by statute, the State and local governments will share the cost of the new voting system.