Linda Lamone, State Administrator of the State Board of Elections briefed the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee Thursday on the operation of the 2016 General Election. She began with the numbers:
- 2.8M voters out of 3.9M eligible (72%) – down from usual 80% in Presidential
- Early voting increased 31%
- Absentee ballots at 6% of total, steady compared to previous years
- 7,800 registrations and 8,000 address changes during early voting
She then briefly discussed some issues that arose on election day. It was reported that 3% of precincts experienced unusually long lines, which the State Board is investigating. In this regard, she stated that the ratio of voting machines (image scanners) to registered voter is 1:3000, contrary to some reports. Ms. Lamone also mentioned an issue with absentee ballots being folded resulting in some scanning errors (41 ballots in Baltimore County, for example). These were re-scanned and counted appropriately. There were also a few instances of scanners grabbing two pages of a ballot together.
Following Ms. Lamone’s testimony, information was shared by Larry Moore, Founder and CEO of Clear Ballot Group, which conducted a full audit of the election results.
“This is the first time a statewide, 100% audit has ever been done in this country.” Larry Moore, Clear Ballot Group
Mr. Moore went into some detail about the process of auditing the 2016 General Election. The bottom line, however, was that the audit resulted in a .062% discrepancy between the State’s count and Clear Ballot’s. This is far below the threshold ratio of .5%, which would trigger concern.