- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 4, 2006

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland elections officials said yesterday that they wanted to see additional tests before deciding whether to stick with electronic polling books.

The computers, which replace paper voting rolls at precincts, may be scrapped by the state for next month’s elections because of glitches during the primaries. Some of the computers didn’t work together properly or had to be rebooted after a few dozen voters checked in.

The glitches slowed voting in some precincts and led to confusion among poll workers.

Linda H. Lamone, state elections administrator, oversaw a daylong test of the electronic books in a simulated election Tuesday. Yesterday, she said she needed more time to decide whether to keep the books.

Jessica Goon, a spokeswoman for the maker of the books, Diebold Inc., said additional tests were held on a computer mouse used by poll workers instead of touching the screens.

In a written statement, Mrs. Lamone said she was “encouraged” that Diebold has fixed the glitches.

“We are on the right track for the November elections,” she said. Mrs. Lamone did not say when a decision would be announced, though she told reporters Tuesday that it’s not too late to go back to using paper printouts to check in voters at precincts.

The Tuesday test had Diebold employees putting the electronic poll books through mock elections in four precincts — one large, one small and two medium. Poll workers who attended the test said the errors they saw on primary day appeared largely fixed.

There were few reports of errors with the voting machines themselves, just the poll books used to verify that a voter was on the rolls and using the correct ballot. Mrs. Lamone said electronic poll books used in other states, including Georgia, had similar glitches during their primaries.

Poll book glitches weren’t the only failures on primary day. Another glitch was that some precincts didn’t have enough poll workers or election judges, something Mrs. Lamone said won’t happen next month. State employees and lawyers have been asked to work in a precinct on Election Day.


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