Maryland may be getting a dry run in how to respond to an election cyberattack. State officials say a computer glitch prevented the Board of Elections from updating voter registration data for as many as 80,000 voters. As a result, droves of people will have to cast provisional ballots if they want to vote in Maryland’s primary today. No, it wasn’t the work of hackers. But the technical error simulated what a hack on a state’s voter registration database might look like — and how election administrators might handle it. “Almost everything that a malicious actor might try to do can also happen by accident,” said Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program, which promotes voting rights. The discovery of the flaw offers a valuable lesson for election officials as they work to improve the security of their election systems ahead of the November midterms, which U.S. intelligence chiefs warn are already being targeted by Russian hackers. And the response shows that election administrators are ready to move quickly if something goes awry.Full Article: The Cybersecurity 202: Maryland ballot snafu offers lessons in how to respond to an election hack - The Washington Post.
Articles about voting issues in Maryland.
Maryland: Voter registration snafu affects 80,000, four times as many as initially announced | Baltimore Sun
As many as 80,000 voters will have to cast provisional ballots in Tuesday’s primary election because of a computer glitch — four times as many as state officials initially announced. On the eve of the election, Democratic legislative leaders called for the immediate resignation of Motor Vehicle Administrator Christine Nizer, who oversees the agency that failed to forward voter information to the Maryland Board of Elections. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan ordered an audit of what went wrong. The MVA discovered the problem was more widespread after it first announced late Saturday that nearly 19,000 were affected, according to a document obtained by The Baltimore Sun. The computer glitch affected some voters across the state who tried to change their registration address or party affiliation through the MVA since April 2017.Full Article: Maryland voter registration snafu affects 80,000, four times as many as initially announced - Baltimore Sun.
Maryland: State says nearly 19,000 could have difficulty voting in Tuesday’s primary due to computer glitch | The Washington Post
Nearly 19,000 Maryland voters will have to file provisional ballots if they want to participate in Tuesday’s primary, after the state Motor Vehicle Administration failed to transmit updated voter information to the State Board of Elections, officials said Sunday. The MVA and Board of Elections attributed the error to a programming glitch, and said it affects about 18,700 individuals who updated their addresses through the MVA’s website or self-service kiosks between April 22, 2017, and June 5, 2018. Officials said a “computer programming error” prevented the transmission of updated addresses and party affiliations to the Board of Elections in cases where voters changed their address but did not buy a driver’s license, vehicle registration or title, or identification card.Full Article: Maryland says nearly 19,000 could have difficulty voting in Tuesday’s primary due to computer glitch - The Washington Post.
A Maryland Senate panel will hold a hearing next month into a Motor Vehicle Administration computer error that has resulted in about 18,761 people not being properly registered to vote in this week’s primary, a state senator said Sunday. State transportation and elections officials say no eligible voters will be denied the right to vote, though affected voters need to verify their voter registration information using the state elections board website, so they can use provisional ballots on Tuesday. Sen. Joan Carter Conway said the Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee will hold the hearing “to hold (Gov. Larry Hogan’s) team accountable for this mess, and to ensure it will not occur again on the eve of the general election.”Full Article: Maryland panel to hold hearing on voter registration error - Fairfield Citizen.
Maryland: Judge declines to order reprint of Maryland ballots to include Democrat Valerie Ervin’s name | The Baltimore Sun
Siding with state elections officials Monday, a circuit judge allowed them to proceed with Maryland’s forthcoming primary with ballots that do not include the name of Valerie Ervin, the last-minute Democratic candidate for governor. Ervin’s name will appear instead on ballots as the running mate of the late Kevin Kamenetz, the former Baltimore County executive who had been one of the leading contenders in the June 26 Democratic primary before dying of a heart attack in early May. Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge William C. Mulford said making a change to millions of ballots with just over a week until early voting begins threatened to cause more confusion than allowing for the rare appearance on the ballot of a deceased candidate and his running mate. “I just can’t imagine turning this election upside down,” Mulford said as he ruled on Monday.Full Article: Judge won’t order Md. to put Ervin on ballot.
Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Valerie Ervin received a boost Thursday in her attempt to get her name onto the June primary ballot when the state Democratic Party publicly supported the effort. “The Democratic Party believes that Maryland law requires the Maryland Board of Elections to do everything in its power to list all eligible gubernatorial candidates and to conduct a smooth election process for all voters,” party Chairwoman Kathleen Matthews said in a statement Thursday. “Voters deserve nothing less.” And an attorney for Ervin and her running mate, Marisol Johnson, appeared before the Maryland State Board of Elections in Annapolis to press the campaign’s case for new ballots.Full Article: Ervin gets party’s backing on ballot | The Baltimore Sun.
Maryland: Judge denies Ervin request to order new ballots, sets hearing for Monday | The Washington Post
An Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge has refused to order the Maryland State Board of Elections not to use ballots for the June 26 Democratic primary that list Valerie Ervin as a candidate for lieutenant governor. Judge Laura Sue Kiessling scheduled a hearing for Monday on whether the state must change its ballots to reflect that Ervin has replaced her former running mate, the late Baltimore County executive Kevin Kamenetz, at the top of the ticket. Kamenetz died unexpectedly May 10. Ervin, a former member of the Montgomery County council and school board, took his place on the ballot, and tapped former Baltimore County school board member Marisol Johnson as her running mate.Full Article: Judge denies Ervin request to order new ballots, sets hearing for Monday - The Washington Post.
Maryland gubernatorial candidate Valerie Ervin is threatening legal action after state election officials announced they would not print new ballots reflecting her recent candidacy following the sudden death of her running mate. The state board of elections announced that it would not reprint ballots for the June 26 primary to reflect Ervin as a Democratic candidate for governor. She was previously running as lieutenant governor on the ticket with former gubernatorial candidate and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who died of a heart attack on May 10. Ervin’s campaign said in a news release Monday night that it had sent a letter to State Board of Elections Administrator Linda Lamone, threatening legal action if ballots are not reprinted, along with other suggestions on what election officials could do to better address the change in candidates.Full Article: Md. gubernatorial candidate threatens legal action if new ballots not printed | WTOP.
Maryland: Political Insiders Plotted the Most Gerrymandered District in America—and Left a Paper Trail | The Washingtonian
If you drive west to Garrett County, Maryland, and ask people what Potomac is like, they usually say they don’t spend much time “downstate.” They watch the Pittsburgh nightly news and, on Sundays, root for the Steelers. When I asked people in the tony Washington suburb of Potomac about Oakland, the Garrett County seat, they unfailingly replied, “Where’s that?” Maryland is a ragtag jumble of mansions and mountain towns—it’s normal not to know much about what goes on 170 miles away. But the people who live along the Youghiogheny River and the ones who take the Red Line into DC each morning have something in common: They are all residents of Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. Which means these strangers-turned-bedfellows share something else: They are the most gerrymandered people in America. At least they are for now. In March, the Supreme Court heard a groundbreaking challenge to the district’s wild contours, brought by seven Republican voters. These Marylanders argue that the Grand Canyon–size district—in a state whose seven others would barely cover the map of Massachusetts—was redrawn to punish the region’s GOP voters.Full Article: Political Insiders Plotted the Most Gerrymandered District in America—and Left a Paper Trail.
In the wake of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, Maryland is close to enacting a law that some experts say would set a new standard for how states deal with foreign interference in local elections and increase overall transparency in online political ads. If signed by Gov. Larry Hogan, the law would require online platforms to create a database identifying the purchasers of online ads in state and local elections and how much they spend. The measure would effectively extend disclosure rules that apply to paid political ads for radio, television and print to social media.Full Article: Maryland bill seeks transparency in online political ads | National | news-journal.com.
All nine members of U.S. Congress representing Maryland requested this month that Republican Gov. Larry Hogan bolster the state’s election security and infrastructure before the 2018 midterms. Gov. Hogan agreed. In a letter to the governor, lawmakers wrote, “With the 2018 midterm elections fast approaching, we hope you will work quickly and collaboratively with the Maryland State Board of Elections to ensure Maryland has access to this critical federal funding.” Maryland is one of 21 states that was notified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last year that Russia attempted to hack their election system. Though the tallying of votes was not thought to have been affected, and many states were only scanned by Russian actors, legislators hope that this new election security funding will prevent future hacks.Full Article: Maryland pounces on federal funding for election cybersecurity.
With the close of the legislative session on Monday, all eyes are turning to the 2018 elections — and election security. On the final day of the legislative session, lawmakers passed House Bill 1331, which requires the state administrator of elections to report security breaches and significant attempted violations within a week of their discovery to the State Board of Elections, governor, legislative leaders and attorney general. Delegate Alonzo T. Washington (D-Prince George’s County) sponsored the legislation after it came to light that Russian hackers tried to penetrate Maryland’s online voter registration system in August 2016. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported that voter registration databases or election agency public websites in 21 states were probed by Russian hackers during the 2016 election. At a hearing on Washington’s bill last week, Nikki Charlson, Maryland’s deputy elections administrator, said the state’s registration system was “probed,” but not “breached.”Full Article: With session over, attention turns to election security | Politics & government | fredericknewspost.com.
Maryland: Bill that allows automatic voter registration becomes law without Gov. Hogan’s signature – The Washington Post
A bill that allows Maryland residents to automatically register to vote when they interact with state agencies has become law without Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature. Maryland joins the District and 11 other states, including Oregon and California, that allow people to register while renewing a driver’s license, signing up for health coverage with the state Health Benefit Exchange or receiving help from a social service agency. “It’s a great step forward and will have tremendous impact for generations to come,” said state Sen. William Smith (D-Montgomery), the bill sponsor. “This will allow thousands of more Marylanders to participate in the democratic process.”Full Article: Maryland bill that allows automatic voter registration becomes law without Gov. Hogan’s signature - The Washington Post.
Maryland: Here’s why cybersecurity experts say Maryland’s ballot delivery system is a target for hackers | The Washington Post
Cybersecurity experts are asking lawmakers to bring Maryland’s ballot access laws — which they say prioritize accessibility to an extent that makes the voting system vulnerable to hacking — in line with other states ahead of November’s elections. Information revealed last month by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III about Russian interference in the political process highlights the need for states to examine the security of voting systems, advocates and computer scientists warn. But legislators say they must balance those concerns with ensuring ballots can be easily obtained by all eligible Marylanders who want to vote. “There is a tension there,” said state Sen. Cheryl C. Kagan (D-Montgomery). “With all the news of election tampering in 2016, it’s critically important that voters have confidence in the security and accuracy of our elections . . . . We are also a fairly progressive state that wants to make it reasonably easy for people to vote.”Full Article: Here’s why cybersecurity experts say Maryland’s ballot delivery system is a target for hackers - The Washington Post.
Maryland: Supreme Court wrestles with how political is too political in Maryland redistricting case | Baltimore Sun
Supreme Court justices pummeled Maryland’s meandering congressional districts on Wednesday as they heard arguments in a high-profile case that some hope will reduce political influence in the decennial redistricting process. As they have in past cases, the justices criticized Maryland’s congressional map — with some saying the litigation offered clear evidence of the political motivations behind its design. But the court also appeared to wrestle with setting a standard for just how far mapmakers may go in pursuit of political advantage. “Part of the issue here is you have people from … Potomac joined with people from the far west panhandle,” said Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., pointing to the state’s sprawling 6th Congressional District. “I mean, they both have farms but the former, hobby farms.”Full Article: Supreme Court wrestles with how political is too political in Maryland redistricting case - Baltimore Sun.
Maryland’s Democratic-controlled legislature on Wednesday approved a measure to automatically register eligible citizens to vote when they interact with certain state agencies. The bill now heads to Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) desk. Hogan has not said whether he supports the measure, and a spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the measure passed by wide enough margins that the legislature could override any potential veto. If the measure becomes law, Maryland would become the 11th state to adopt automatic voter registration. Any Marylander who interacts with the state’s Motor Vehicle Administration, health-care exchange or social services offices would be signed up to vote unless they decline.Full Article: Maryland legislature passes automatic voter registration | TheHill.
When Maryland Democrats drew new U.S. House of Representatives district maps in 2011, long-time Republican voter Bill Eyler found himself removed from a conservative rural district and inserted into a liberal one encompassing Washington suburbs. Eyler, a retired business owner in the small town of Thurmont roughly 55 miles north of the U.S. capital, said he thinks he and others like him were being targeted by the Democrats because of their party affiliation. He was inserted into a Democratic-leaning congressional district in an electoral map that diminished the statewide clout of Republican voters. “There’s nothing we can do or say or vote that will make any difference,” Eyler said in an interview.Full Article: Maryland Republicans take electoral map fight to U.S. high court.
As details emerge of the Russian campaign to influence the 2016 election, officials in Maryland are working to protect the state’s voting system for this year and beyond. State elections officials are working with federal authorities to shore up Maryland’s defenses against tampering with electronic voting systems and electoral rolls. Lawmakers have introduced proposals to fix perceived flaws, audit results more rigorously and to compel greater disclosures about advertising on social media. … Poorvi Vora, a professor of computer science at George Washington University, says Maryland is among the worst of the 50 states in securing absentee ballots. The state allows voters to request absentee ballots through its web site and mark them online before mailing them in. That function is part of the system that allows voters to register online. It’s also the system that hackers probed in August 2016. Charlson said they did not breach it.Full Article: Maryland officials look to shore up election defenses after Russian tampering - Baltimore Sun.
Maryland: Hogan to sign Supreme Court brief siding with challengers to Maryland redistricting | Baltimore Sun
Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday that he will sign a friend-of-the-court brief in a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court — joining the side of Republican voters who say Maryland’s congressional district map violated their First Amendment rights. Hogan, a Republican, and former California Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, are jointly filing the brief and calling on other current and former governors to join them and oppose what Hogan called “shameful gerrymandering.” “This kind of arrogant behavior and political subterfuge is exactly why the people of Maryland are fed up with politics as usual,” Hogan said.Full Article: Hogan to sign Supreme Court brief siding with challengers to Maryland redistricting - Baltimore Sun.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a redistricting measure passed last year could be the subject of an override vote Friday in the state Senate. The legislation would set up a commission to redraw congressional district lines after the federal census is conducted — but only if New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia also adopt similar legislation. Hogan, who has made redistricting reform a priority of his administration, called the measure “a phony bill masquerading as redistricting reform” when he vetoed it last year. “It was nothing more than a political ploy designed with one purpose — to ensure that real redistricting reform would never actually happen in Maryland,” he said.Full Article: Senate to consider overriding redistricting pact veto | Annapolis | heraldmailmedia.com.