Back to the Future With Paper Ballots

Maryland will return to paper ballots for the 2016 elections, concluding a costly decade-plus venture with on-screen voting. Coverage from Capital News Service discusses the pending change, including concerns that limited voter education efforts may trigger process delays.

In 2007, the Maryland General Assembly passed a law requiring elections to be conducted on paper ballots instead of the touch-screen ballots that Maryland residents have been using since 2002.

In April, the new machines will be ready for primary elections. Voters will fill out a paper ballot in pen, filling in bubbles next to their choices. They then would insert their ballot into an electronic reading machine.

“We’re concerned that we don’t have the money to do voter outreach, and we’re concerned that that’s going to add to wait times,” said Maryland Board of Elections State Administrator Linda Lamone.

Under legislation passed in 2001, costs of both the now-obsoleted on-screen voting system and the replacement voting system are supported by a combination of half state and half county funds.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties
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