Monday, April 7, 2008

MD Funds Move Away from DRE Voting Machines

In a move that will both save Maryland taxpayers a considerable chunk of money and make voting in Maryland more secure, the general assembly just funded the replacement of electronic voting machines by machines with optical scanners. The move is expected to save the state $6M annually. The switch has been promised for some time, but there's always been the chance that it wouldn't be funded. Wired recently reported on a study on the cost of e-voting which outlined how the cost of the Diebold machines, though higher than the cost of other voting technology, is only the start since Diebold also charges for training, maintenance, software upgrades, etc. Other recent stories have centered about Linda Lamone, the administrator of the state board of elections appearing in a Diebold ad and the fact that the physical security of Maryland's machines lies in the hands of John Kane, former chairman of the MD Republican Party. Couple this with former Gov. Ehrlich's description of the SAIC study of the Diebold machines as a "positive report," though the report, commissioned by the state of Maryland said that the Diebold machines "do not, in many cases meet the standard of best practice or the State of Maryland Security Policy." SAIC went on to say they found "several high-risk vulnerabilities in the implementation of the managerial, operational, and technical controls for AccuVote-TS voting system. If these vulnerabilities are exploited, significant impact could occur on the accuracy, integrity, and availability of election results." In sum, there were always a large number of questions about how Maryland came to get electronic voting machines and how they were managed.

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