The Hogan administration has raised concerns that Maryland’s new $28 million voting system may not be ready for the April 26 primary, but the state’s top election official has rejected the idea of delaying the launch and using old machines. In a memo to the State Board of Elections obtained by The Baltimore Sun, elections administrator Linda H. Lamone warned that continuing to use Maryland’s old touch-screen voting system would be “very risky.” Lamone told board members that “it has been suggested” the state use the older system for the primary with an eye to implementing the new one for the November general election. Her memo did not specify who offered the suggestion, but the Hogan administration acknowledged Friday that its Department of Information Technology had raised “grave concerns” about the state’s new paper-based system.
“Due to these concerns, I believe the project as currently implemented cannot be a success,” department chief of staff Albert Bullock warned Secretary David A. Garcia in a Nov. 5 memo provided by the agency.
Department spokesman Michael White said that while the agency has an oversight role in information technology projects, it doesn’t make decisions on voting machines or the election process.
“Based upon numerous challenges the project has encountered, Secretary Garcia has expressed his strong concerns over the State Board of Elections’ preparedness to successfully execute next year’s primary election with the new voting system,” White said. “However, Ms. Lamone has given Secretary Garcia assurances that the State Board of Elections is fully prepared to move forward with the new voting machines.” White said the department is prepared to help the elections board if Lamone requests assistance.