Maryland

Articles about voting issues in Maryland.

Maryland: U.S. judge: Miller, Bush must testify, turn over documents in redistricting case | The Washington Post

A federal judge has ordered Maryland’s top two legislative leaders to testify and turn over records for a lawsuit challenging the 2011 redrawing of the state’s congressional districts, which effectively ensured Democratic control of seven out of eight U.S. House seats. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) have fought efforts to examine their intentions during the redistricting process, claiming that “legislative privilege” protects them from records requests and litigation related to internal deliberations. But U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar ruled Tuesday that the ability to discover evidence “lies at the heart of this case” and that the legislature’s direct role in the redistricting process “supports overcoming the legislative privilege.” Bredar wrote that the protections Miller and Busch had claimed do not apply in certain types of federal lawsuits, particularly those that don’t involve financial liability. Read More

Maryland: Aide to Maryland lawmaker fabricated article on fraudulent votes for Clinton | The Washington Post

Republican legislative aide in Maryland who was behind a fake news site that accused Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton of election-rigging was fired Wednesday. Del. David E. Vogt III (R-Frederick) said he terminated Cameron Harris “on the spot” after learning that he was the ­mastermind behind Christian­TimesNewspaper.com and its fabricated Sept. 30 article, which reported that there were tens of thousands of “fraudulent Clinton votes found” in an Ohio ­warehouse. Harris, who graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina in May, had worked for the Republican delegate since June. He did not return a call for comment, but he apologized in a Twitter post to “those disappointed by my actions” and called for a “larger dialogue about how Americans approach the media” and other issues. Read More

Maryland: Scanner shortage caused lines and long waits Election Day | Maryland Reporter

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.” Read More

Maryland: Is it rigged? Local officials assure Maryland’s voting system is secure | Frederick News Post

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. Read More

Maryland: Security Experts Question Maryland’s Online Ballot System | Associated Press

A new online ballot system and marking tool could weaken Maryland’s voting security and make it the most vulnerable state in the nation, according to some cybersecurity experts. On Sept. 14, the Maryland State Board of Elections voted 4-1 to certify a new voting system and marking tool for online ballots. The new system will allow all Maryland voters the ability to both make selections on a computer and print absentee ballots from home, and send them into the State Board of Elections. Nikki Charlson, the deputy state administrator of the Board of Elections, said the system and tool are as secure as possible. “We are following all of the best practices for IT systems,” she said. Experts in cybersecurity and computer science have publicly stated they believe the potential risks with the new method of voting outweigh the benefits. Read More

Maryland: Despite warnings from cyber-experts, Maryland moves forward with online voting | The Washington Post

Cybersecurity experts are warning that Maryland’s online absentee-ballot system is dangerously vulnerable to tampering and privacy invasions, both growing concerns in a year when hackers have breached the Democratic National Committee and attempted to access boards of elections in at least two states. The system allows voters who request an absentee ballot to receive the form by email and send back a printed hard copy, with their votes marked by hand or with a new online tool that allows users to mark the document with the click of a mouse or the touch of a keyboard, then print it for mail delivery. Until this year, in large part because of security concerns, the latter option was available only to people with disabilities. Critics say it is easy for impostors to use stolen credentials to request absentee ballots or for cyberthieves to hack in and retrieve data about who is requesting ballots or details of votes that were cast online. … A group of computer scientists and cybersecurity experts wrote to the board two days before its vote and urged it not to certify the system, saying the setup would “make Maryland one of the most vulnerable states in the U.S. for major election tampering.” Read More

Maryland: Redistricting lawsuit can go forward, federal judges rule | The Washington Post

A lawsuit challenging Maryland’s contorted congressional district map on First Amendment grounds has merit and should go forward, a three-judge federal panel ruled Wednesday. The map, drawn by Maryland’s Democratic lawmakers following the 2010 Census, essentially ensured that seven of the state’s eight congressional seats would be under their party’s control. According to the lawsuit, the redistricting specifically targeted western Maryland’s 6th District, where lines were altered to help unseat 10-term incumbent Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R). Bartlett was defeated by John Delaney (D) in 2012. The suit, brought by Steve Shapiro, an American University law student, presents a novel argument: that the gerrymandered map violated the rights of 6th District Republican voters to political association and expression. It asks that the state be barred from using the map in any future elections. Read More

Maryland: Is it constitutional to draw a congressional district that only one party can win? | Baltimore Sun

A crop of legal challenges to contorted legislative districts in states like Maryland will soon give the Supreme Court its best opportunity in years to consider whether maps drawn for partisan advantage deprive voters of an equal voice in elections. Good-government groups believe the justices are poised to take up redistricting cases from North Carolina or Wisconsin — or both — in the next term. The plaintiffs are challenging the legality of one party drawing an electoral map that all but guarantees its candidates will win nearly all the seats. Either case could have implications for Maryland, where squirrelly congressional lines have helped Democrats control seven of the state’s eight House seats, but have drawn criticism from analysts, voters and the high court itself. The late Justice Antonin Scalia described Maryland’s congressional map as a “crazy quilt” in a redistricting case last year. Read More

Maryland: Congressional map’s foes receive skeptical hearing | Baltimore Sun

Conservative activists received a frosty reception from a three-judge panel in Baltimore Tuesday as they sought to scrap Maryland’s bitterly disputed congressional district map. The federal judges peppered a lawyer for the challengers with skeptical questions as they considered a motion by the State Board of Elections to dismiss the lawsuit. The panel did not rule on the motion but expressed doubts about the plaintiffs’ constitutional assertions and their legal standing to bring the suit in the first place. The plaintiffs — led by a trio of prominent Republicans — sued last year in the latest of several efforts to throw out the congressional map and force the General Assembly to draw a new one. They are represented by lawyers from the conservative legal group Judicial Watch. Read More

Maryland: Congressional districts violate First Amendment, lawsuit says | The Washington Post

Maryland’s infamously contorted congressional district map was challenged in federal court on Tuesday by an American University law student who says the boundaries violate the First Amendment rights of Republican voters. The suit was thrown out by a federal judge in 2014, a decision upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. But the Supreme Court ruled in December that plaintiff Stephen Shapiro was improperly denied a hearing before a three-judge panel. He got his day in court in Baltimore on Tuesday, along with plaintiffs in two other lawsuits challenging Maryland’s 2011 redistricting. Shapiro questions the legality of gerrymandered boundaries approved by Democratic state lawmakers to ensure that seven of Maryland’s eight congressional seats would be under their party’s control. Read More