2006 Maryland Elections

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Election Fiasco

As thousands of Maryland residents started to enter balloting places on the morning of September 12, a surprising event unfolded. Many residents were turned away from voting, others waited for hours only to find out they would not be allowed to place their vote, and many encountered difficulty in registering themselves and their vote. After the Florida fiasco during the presidential election in 2000, one may hope that the proficiency of voting in the United States has increased dramtically. However, the recent election malfunction in Maryland proves that balloting still has many more improvements to go.

As more information has become available since the Election Day, many questions have been raised. What happened? Who is to blame? Will this affect the General Elections in November?

In direct relation to the presidential elections of 2000, many states including Maryland have adopted new voting procedures. This past primary election was one of the first times Maryland has implemented these new procedures. Ballots are now cast using an electronic touch-screen voting machine. However, they are not backed by a paper ballot so when a massive failure occurs, like on September 12, election results may not be accurate. Along with the electronic failure of the machines, Maryland experienced a shortage of volunteers and election judges (Marbella). Because of this and the balloting failure, many found the elections to be very unorganized which worries voters for the General Election in November (Marbella). Governor Ehlrich recently called a meeting with the Maryland Board of Public Works to launch an investigation and discuss options for the November elections. He attacked Linda Lamone, chief elections operator of Maryland, and stated that he wanted the General Assembly to convene and officially do-away with the electronic voting machines and replace them with simple paper ballots (Marbella). While this is highly unlikely with the General Elections nearing, it has been highly debated.

As a registered Maryland voter and with the November elections only a few weeks away, I am very worried about the status and legitimacy of this new voting system. I believe that voter's rights should be respected and no one should ever be turned away from the ballot machine. The fact that there weren't enough volunteers, especially election judges, is completely intolerable. I also believe that paper ballots must be used to back up electronic ballot systems. Officials in Montgomery County, Maryland are still counting votes to provide accuracy for the election results which I find to be completely irresponsible. Maryland residents should also feel secure in the conduct of how the elections are run. This is evidentally not true.

Marbella, Jean. "Point is, someone's at fault for voter mess". The Baltimore Sun. 22 September 2006. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-md.marbella22sep22,1,3402255.column


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