Maryland’s Governor Endorses Paper-Ballot Voting Machines

The Washington Post reports that Maryland Governor Ehrlich (R-MD) wrote a letter to the Chairman of the State Board of Elections calling for the board to replace touch screen voting machines with optical scan machines. According to the Post, his letter states:

“Maryland’s lack of a paper trail means we are no longer a national leader in elections systems and that our equipment is susceptible to system failures,” the governor wrote in a letter to be delivered today to the chairman of the State Board of Elections. “It is inexcusable for us not to be prepared for a catastrophic system failure in the 2006 cycle.”

The Governor is endorsing legislation by Maryland House Member Sheila Hixon (D-Montgomery) that would require the state to lease optical scan systems for the next election. Her bill was approved by committee last week, but according to the Post its prospects in the Senate aren’t clear.

ACM issued a statement in 2004 calling for voting systems to have a physical (e.g., paper) record to verify that individual’s vote has been accurately cast. That statement also called for all voting systems to “embody careful engineering, strong safeguards, and rigorous testing in both their design and operation.”

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