Article published Sep 14, 2004

No Paper for Md. Anti-Touchscreen Voters

Associated Press Writer

 Maryland's highest court Tuesday rejected demands for additional
safeguards for touchscreen voting machines, saying elections officials have
done everything necessary to ensure the paperless devices are accurate and

The Court of Appeals also rejected a call to allow citizens who do not
trust touchscreen voting to use paper ballots in the Nov. 2 general

The decision came in a two-paragraph order issued less than three hours
after the judges heard arguments on a suit brought by TrueVoteMD. The
citizens group alleges the electronic machines, used statewide for the
first time in March, are vulnerable to fraud and that the state cannot
guarantee fair and accurate election results.

Lead plaintiff Linda Schade said that although the decision was not a
surprise, it means voters "are going to be forced to vote on an insecure

Schade said the state delayed the suit so long that "judges found
themselves challenged to find a remedy for this upcoming election that
could be implemented in time."

Linda Lamone, state election laws administrator, said outside the courtroom
that making significant changes in the voting system at this late date
would have created chaos on Election Day.

Asked about the security of the state's 16,000 Diebold AccuVote-TS
electronic machines, Lamone said, "I'm very confident they are accurate and

TrueVoteMD wants the state to equip all electronic machines with printers
that would make a copy of each vote, although it acknowledged in court that
it was too late to do that for the November election.

For the upcoming vote, the group had sought paper ballots for voters who
mistrust the computer voting system, as well as additional security
measures, such as installing Microsoft Windows software patches on the
computers used to tabulate votes.

The group contends paper records would ensure that votes were properly
recorded and could be used for recounts.

"We're basically playing Russian roulette," TrueVoteMD lawyer Ryan Phair
said as he listed potential problems with electronic machines. "We know
there is vulnerability. It is just a matter of time until it happens."

Assistant Attorney General Michael Berman said more than 20 successful
elections have been held in Maryland using the Diebold machines with no
evidence of fraud or allegations of inaccurate vote counts.

Phair mentioned allegations of glitches with computerized systems in other
states, but said it might be impossible to detect widespread fraud such as
rewriting of software to skew election results.

Phair said TrueVoteMD will continue its legal battle to force the state to
use printers on electronic machines in future elections.

Also Tuesday, a local election judge was ordered to return to the
Montgomery County elections board an electronic voting machine that U.S.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., had trouble using in a weekend demonstration.
The machine marked the wrong vote when Mikulski's hand brushed against the
screen, and it took her several attempts to correct the vote.

The election judge, Stan Boyd, had tests performed on the machine, but
would not elaborate on the tests or any findings.

Kevin Karpinski, an attorney for the county board, said any problems
testing might uncover could be misleading because the machine was only for
demonstration purposes and does not have updated software that will be used
in the November election.
R. A. Hettinga <mailto: [EMAIL PROTECTED]>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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