Cybersecurity experts are asking lawmakers to bring Maryland’s ballot access laws — which they say prioritize accessibility to an extent that makes the voting system vulnerable to hacking — in line with other states ahead of November’s elections. Information revealed last month by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III about Russian interference in the political process highlights the need for states to examine the security of voting systems, advocates and computer scientists warn. But legislators say they must balance those concerns with ensuring ballots can be easily obtained by all eligible Marylanders who want to vote. “There is a tension there,” said state Sen. Cheryl C. Kagan (D-Montgomery). “With all the news of election tampering in 2016, it’s critically important that voters have confidence in the security and accuracy of our elections . . . . We are also a fairly progressive state that wants to make it reasonably easy for people to vote.”
Maryland is one of three states in which any resident can receive their ballot online and the only state in which there is no signature verification process required by law, advocates said. To have their ballots counted, residents must print them out and return them by mail or in person.
Russians “have already demonstrated that they have all of the tools they would need, and know how to use them, to impersonate real Maryland voters,” Rebecca Wilson of the nonpartisan group SAVE Our Votes said during a committee hearing in the state Senate last month.