Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called the election process “rigged,” but Frederick County and Maryland officials assure voters the state’s new balloting system is secure. “Simply put, Maryland’s election systems are secure, have built-in redundancies, and have been subject to security testing,” the state board posted in the “Rumor Control” portion of its website. Across Maryland, voters who choose to vote on Election Day will mark their paper ballots by hand. Those paper ballots are fed into an optical scan machine that counts the votes and collects the paper ballots. A switch to paper ballots in Maryland has been underway since 2007, when legislation was passed requiring a verifiable paper record for every voter. The new ballots were unveiled this year after the state was able to fully fund the transition from touch screens of the past. Pamela Smith, president of the non-partisan, nonprofit organization Verified Voting, said Maryland’s decision to switch to paper ballots was a beneficial one.
Verified Voting supports bills and regulations that promote the accuracy and transparency of elections. According to their data, the majority of the country will use paper ballots on Election Day. “Anyplace that you’ve got paper ballots, you’ve got kind of better security than in places where you don’t, so Maryland is in a better place today because of the shift,” Smith said.
Paper is straightforward, reliable and can be easily recounted, she noted, while more advanced ballot technologies can be subject to glitches. With paper, she said, “even if your scanner should break down on Election Day, you still have a way for people to vote.” But cybersecurity threats are still an issue, Smith said, despite the move to paper ballots.