The state attorney general’s office is appealing a federal judge’s ruling ordering Maryland to use an absentee ballot-marking technology for the disabled that the Board of Elections had refused to certify as secure. The state will ask the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., to throw out District Judge Richard D. Bennett’s decision this month. Bennett found that the election board’s refusal to implement the program violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The attorney general’s office filed a notice of intent to appeal Monday but did not spell out its objections to the ruling. Alan Brody, a spokesman for the office, said the state is not requesting a stay of Bennett’s ruling. The decision not to seek a stay means this year’s election will go forward with the system in place, according to Brody. Nikki Baines Charlson, deputy administrator of the elections board, said the system has been installed and is being used now by disabled absentee voters. “We will continue to use it until the court tells us otherwise,” Charlson said. She referred further questions to the attorney general’s office.
… Susan Greenhalgh, election specialist for the ballot security advocacy group Verified Voting Foundation, welcomed the decision to appeal. Greenhalgh said Maryland’s ballot-marking tool was vulnerable to an attack that would allow a hacker to change a blind voter’s choices and that the voter would be unable to detect the change. “The judge ignored that. He just missed those facts,” she said.
Greenhalgh expressed dismay that the state isn’t seeking a stay. “I don’t think that this tool is safe and private, and it’s not ready to be deployed,” she said.