A voting rights group and some of the nation’s leading researchers on election technology are urging Maryland voters to check the accuracy of their online voter registration files after warning that the data had been left vulnerable to tampering. Researchers at the University of Michigan, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a former president of the Association for Computing Machinery wrote to Maryland officials late last month urging them to take immediate steps to better protect a new system that allows Marylanders to update their voter registration online. The letter warned that anyone with access to a Maryland voter’s full name and birth date could exploit a simple online tool to change the voter’s address, party affiliation or other information. Such changes, especially a change of address, could lead to a voter’s ballot not being counted normally on Election Day.Full Article: Maryland’s online voter registration vulnerable to attack, researchers say - The Washington Post.
Maryland: Online ballot marking for absentee voters approved, but potential for fraud questioned | MarylandReporter.com
Thousands of absentee voters from Maryland will be the first to mark their ballots online this fall, as the attorney general gave the green light to the State Board of Elections Thursday. But at least one advocacy organization said the new online ballot marking program, along with the state’s just started online registration process, is open to voter fraud. The long-awaited formal opinion from the attorney general gave the elections board the official OK to implement online ballot marking software without having to undergo state or federal certification, which a watchdog group opposed. The five-member board voted unanimously during their monthly meeting to proceed with the new online tool. The ballot marking “wizard” will allow military and overseas voters, also referred to as Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) voters, to mark their absentee ballots online, a step designed to make the final processing of their ballots more efficient, the state board said. After the approval, a voting rights advocate told the board about a possible security vulnerability, one she said that would not only affect the state’s new online voter registration system but could potentially extend to the November elections.Full Article: Online ballot marking for absentee voters approved, but potential for fraud questioned – MarylandReporter.com.
The State Board of Elections may move to implement an online ballot marking system for all absentee voters in time for this year’s elections, depending on an opinion from the attorney general. But some voter advocacy groups worry about the potential for fraud. The move to online ballot marking comes after a 2010 federal mandate that required states to provide overseas voters and active military personnel with access to online absentee ballot applications. The attorney general’s opinion, requested by Sen. Edward Kasemeyer, would say whether or not the elections board should seek federal and state certification for the online ballot marking tool. The board staff is currently developing the device through a Department of Defense grant. Certification would test the system and look for vulnerable areas, including where fraud or manipulation could occur. All whole voting systems are federally required to receive certification, but the state board argues the ballot marking tool would be only part of a voting system.Full Article: Maryland election board looks at online ballot marking – MarylandReporter.com.
Voting Blogs: SaveOurVotes: Flawed Wisconsin Race Proves Need for Transparency, Accountability in Election Procedures
When Wisconsin voters flocked to the polls on April 5, one of the factors driving the high turnout was the State Supreme Court contest between incumbent Justice David Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg. Prosser, whose term ends July 31, often casts the deciding vote on the seven-member court. He is a conservative Republican former Speaker of the Assembly seen as closely allied to Wisconsin’s controversial Gov. Scott Walker.
Kloppenburg, a virtual unknown who was given little chance of success when she entered the race several months ago, was buoyed by the high passions stirred by Walker’s actions to strip government employees of their collective bargaining rights. Though the race is officially nonpartisan, it was seen as both a referendum on Walker and a chance to affect the Supreme Court’s ruling on Walker’s actions, which are likely to be reviewed by the Court in its next term.
Election night results were considered too close to call, but the next day when seemingly all the votes had been tallied, Kloppenburg claimed victory with a margin of 204 votes of the more than 1.4 million total votes cast. A recount seemed inevitable.SAVE our Votes: Flawed Wisconsin Race Proves Need for Transparency, Accountability in Election Procedures.
The state of Maryland will be making a foolish choice if it decides to renege on its promise to replace our risky paperless touchscreen voting machines with a paper ballot, optical-scan voting system. The new voting system, with just one-fifth the equipment of the old one, would be much cheaper to operate and maintain. It would reinstill voter confidence by finally putting in place a safe, reliable voting system that records the votes as voters intended, and allows recounts to be conducted in close races. Maryland voters overwhelmingly favor a paper record of their votes and the transition to the new system is mandated by a law that passed the General Assembly unanimously in 2007. After years of debate and reams of data from computer security experts exposing a vast number of security vulnerabilities in touchscreen voting, as well as information from other states about the cost benefits of transitioning to optical scan voting, it appears that a well orchestrated effort has resurfaced at the 11th hour to mislead the Board of Public Works and others about the true costs of purchasing the new system versus the cost of trying to keep the old system on life support.Full Article: Maryland Needs Secure, Verifiable Voting System