- Kentucky city called socialist for buying gas station, undercutting competitor fuel prices
- Israel hits five mosques, sports complex in overnight Gaza strikes
- Hillary Clinton dogged for refusing reporters’ questions on book tour
- EPA tweet baffles: ‘I’m now a C-List celebrity in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood’ iPhone game
- Australian P.M. Abbott: MH17 evidence tampered with on ‘industrial scale’
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez tells Hispanics to vote and ‘punish those’ who oppose amnesty
- Country singer Tim McGraw not sorry for slapping female fan: ‘Things happen’
- Iraq vet cited for owning 14 therapeutic pet ducks
- White House takes credit for drop in unaccompanied children at border
- International crises be damned, Obama’s fundraising trip must go on
House OKs changes for voting
Question of the Day
ANNAPOLIS — Maryland’s House voted yesterday to abandon electronic-voting machines that don’t print receipts, setting up the possibility that Marylanders will return to pens and pencils instead of electronic screens this fall.
The bill, which passed 137-0 with little debate, prohibits the use of Diebold voting machines in this year’s elections amid concerns from both parties that the machines don’t provide paper receipts that could be counted by hand in a contested election.
The measure now heads to the Senate, where its fortunes are less clear. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., a Democrat, has questioned the wisdom of leasing optical-scan machines that read ballots marked by hand. Maryland has already spent about $90 million acquiring and maintaining the Diebold machines, and the lease requirement for optical-scan machines would add another $12.5 million this year, supporters said.
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, has called for paper records of votes and will likely sign the optical-scan measure if it comes to his desk.
“Our electoral process … must be safeguarded,” said Delegate Anthony J. O’Donnell, the second-ranking Republican in the House.
“The machines we have right now are very susceptible” to fraud, Mr. O’Donnell added.
Maryland used electronic-voting machines in all polling places for the 2004 election and was one of the first states to do so. Nationally, about 40 million voters used touch-screen machines in the 2004 presidential election.
The plan to lease optical-scan machines for one year only came after state elections officials said they didn’t have time to add paper records to the Diebold machines for this fall’s September primaries. Using optical-scan ballots, voters fill in a circle or arrow next to the names of candidates and then feed the paper ballot into a machine that records the votes.
The House took less than 10 minutes to approve the change, which lawmakers will have to revisit in future years if they are to make a permanent change to how people vote. The only delegate to question the measure, William J. Frank, Baltimore County Republican, ultimately voted in favor of it.
“It’s unfortunate that we spent all this money” on the machines, Mr. Frank said after the vote, but he added that public confidence in elections is more important than the expense. The state spends about $7 million a year maintaining the Diebold machines.
“We have to make it right and the way to make it right is to have a paper trail, and that will ensure confidence in the election,” Mr. Frank said.
Mr. Miller repeated his doubts yesterday about whether Maryland should warehouse its electronic-voting machines.
“They worked perfectly two years ago,” Mr. Miller said. “We had the lowest rate of error of any state in the country. The machines worked perfectly.”
Mr. Miller also pointed out that optical-scan voting would slow results, although he didn’t predict whether the bill would fail in his chamber.
U.S. appetite for drugs begets violence migrants are fleeing
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- Jewish woman booted from JetBlue flight over fight with Palestinian
- YOUNG: A sinking presidency, deeper after November?
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
- Edward Snowden to work with Russia on anti-spy technology
- MERRY: Handicaps in Hillary's way
- U.S. scrambles as violence escalates in Israel-Hamas conflict
- Humanists seek support from Congress on military chaplains
- Rep. Jared Polis' anti-fracking crusade riles Colorado
- Big milestone for Britain's little prince
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq