Montgomery election officials said Monday they will review registration procedures in response to allegations from a conservative watchdog group that the county’s rolls are packed with ineligible voters. Judicial Watch said in a letter earlier this month there was “strong circumstantial evidence” that Montgomery’s lists are filled with names of voters who have died, moved out of state or are non-citizens. It said the charge is supported by data showing more registered voters in the county than there are citizens of voting age (18 and over). … The state board, which oversees county panels, said last week that it will also review practices in response to Judicial Watch. But county election staff and voting rights groups raised questions Monday about the legitimacy of Judicial Watch’s claim.
Articles about voting issues in Maryland.
Maryland: Senate OKs bill to create redistricting commission — if other states do the same | Baltimore Sun
The Maryland Senate approved a bill Thursday that would require the state to create a nonpartisan commission for redistricting — but only if five other states agree to do the same. Senators were divided between those who see the bill as a hollow gesture and others who say it’s a first step toward fixing Maryland’s confusing, gerrymandered political districts. Proponents of the bill say that requiring five other Mid-Atlantic states to shift to nonpartisan redistricting is a regional solution to the problem. Opponents countered that the measure would simply delay any meaningful action. “We’re going to pass something that will never happen, just so we can say we did something,” said Justin Ready, a Carroll County Republican who voted against the bill.
A Maryland House panel has voted against Gov. Larry Hogan’s redistricting reform bill, but a Senate committee has passed a bill to create a Mid-Atlantic compact for drawing congressional district lines. The Republican governor’s bill rejected Monday would have put redistricting in the hands of an independent commission. Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District is being ridiculed as shaped like a broken-winged pterodactyl. Hogan told WBAL NewsRadio 1090 AM “C-4” radio program Tuesday that his bill establishes a nonpartisan commission to redraw the lines.
For the second year in a row, the Democrat-controlled General Assembly rejected Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s plan to take away lawmakers’ power to draw congressional districts. Without discussion, a key House committee on Monday killed Hogan’s proposal to cede that authority — and the less controversial power to General Assembly district boundaries — to a nonpartisan redistricting commission. The 18-5 party-line vote by the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee effectively erases any hope the governor’s redistricting plan will advance this year. Hogan has pressed the legislature to take an up-or-down vote on his plan rather than letting it languish without one.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”