State Moving Back to Paper Ballots in 2016

In 2016, Maryland will be change back to using paper ballots in elections. This is estimated to cost $28.1 million dollars, according to the Board of Public Works.

An article in the Herald Mail Media explains:

With the new system, voters can mark a blank paper ballot with an old-fashioned pen or pencil — similar to filling out an absentee ballot — or use an “ExpressVote” computer that allows them to make their selections and then print a ballot.

The reason for the change is to resolve voters’ concerns about the security of the computers during the elections process. Using paper ballots will ensure votes cannot be hacked, as electronic ballots may risk in computer voting.

The article continues,

The state will pay for half, about $14 million, with the remaining cost to be covered by local government.

For Washington County, that cost will be about $336,000, based on the county’s total voting-age population of the state, 0.024 percent, Robucci said.

In addition to costs, there are concerns about the storage of paper ballots. Currently, local governments use a warehouse; however, the amount of paper ballots being stored for up to 22 months may prove challenging given the storage resources available.

These changes will be ready just in time for the 2016 presidential elections, states Washington County Elections Director Kaye Robucci:

“Lots of people will be turning out to vote,” Robucci said of the 2016 elections with a new voting system in place. “… It’s just something new to learn, but that’s OK. That’s what we’re here for. We’ll do our best with passing that on to the voters.”

Read the full article here for more information.