There were long lines at some polling places on Election Day, and hundreds of voters waited for hours, particularly in Baltimore County. But there is no evidence of a partisan conspiracy, as some Republicans believed, just a shortage of scanners. Before the last voters cast ballots after 10 p.m. on Election Day, Maryland Republican Party Executive Director Joe Cluster was up in arms over the long waits that were exasperating some voters throughout the state. … “I’m concerned about the distribution of machines,” Cluster said. “Election Day was a fiasco! There was probably one [scanner] at every polling place. We definitely need more. The Board of Elections needs to make sure we find the money to put more scanners in the polling precincts.”
This year Maryland introduced a new paper ballot system for the primary and general elections. Under the direction of State Election Administrator Linda Lamone, a formula for allocating ballot scanners to precincts was set. According to local election officials, voting precincts with 4,000 registered voters or less are allocated one ballot scanner. Precincts of 4,001 or more voters, get two.
“One scanner per precinct is pretty much standard throughout the country,” said Nikki Charlson, deputy administrator of the State Board of Elections. “We had a lot of experience with scanners,” since 19 counties used them with paper ballots for several elections before 2002. Local election boards, however, were allowed to request additional scanners.
Initially, the State Board had no money to lease more scanners. However, the Maryland Association of Counties was able to persuade Gov. Larry Hogan and the Board of Public Works for an additional $525,000 for more scanners, with the costs split 50/50 between the state and the counties.