Maryland Alert: Verifiable Electronic Voting

Received this Maryland-focused action alert from Thomas Nephew of the excellent Newsrack Blog. If you, like Thomas and I, hail from the Old Line State, I ask you to act on this important issue.

I got this earlier this evening from Linda Schade, who is head of the TrueVoteMD, a group devoted to making electronic voting in Maryland verifiable with paper receipts.

I don’t know if you follow this issue, but I think it’ more important than it may sound: without paper receipts, there’ no way to doublecheck whether your electronic vote was accurately recorded and tallied. The Maryland State Board of Elections has really dug in its heels about sticking with the current e-voting system, despite much expert testimony that there’s a better way. In Montgomery County, 12 percent of electronic voting machines failed in the November election.

A bill is before the Maryland house that would require paper receipts and random audits for e-voting systems; two other “bad” bills either fail to specify the kind of “vote verification,” or call for further study. Here’s a Washington Post editorial from earlier this week about it: Up For the Count.

If you want to help get the “good” bill passed, there are specific phone numbers below to call if you like, or an online petition to sign if that’s where you’d like to leave things.

From: Linda Schade
Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2005 7:32 PM

Subject: TrueVote Update: Call Now to Support Paper Trail

Pass this on to friends and neighbors or risk living in a country where elections are totally fake!! Just kidding, sort of.

Concerned Maryland Voter:

Voters across the state are still working to get a paper ballot for our voting machines. The Annapolis session is at a fever pitch – so now is the perfect time for a TrueVoteMD update and action item that you can take to help out restoring MD’s elections.

Election Day Cover-Up? At a recent hearing, surprising testimony revealed that 12 percent of Montgomery County’s voting machines had failed in the November 2004 election. A county election board member made public an internal report which shows the details AND that Diebold is still STRUGGLING — four months later — to explain what happened with Montgomery County voting machines.

The burning question is, “What happened in the rest of Maryland counties?” We have reason to believe the problems were statewide – but those with the documents have been told to refer all inquiries to Administrator Lamone at the State Board. The refusal of Linda Lamone and the State Board to openly share the real information (actual election day reports from each county) has caused TrueVoteMd to file a Freedom of Information Act Request to find out. We’d like to know exactly what they have to hide – and so would the national media (Check the documents we have so far by scrolling down on the home page of TrueVoteMd.org).

Paper Trail Legislation: We expect bills to be voted on in Annapolis any day now.

Now is the time for intense activity to push these important paper ballot bills. THREE sets of bills are under consideration but ONLY ONE is the real deal.

I. The True Paper Trail Bills House Bill 107 & Senate Bill 9 require the solution advocated by independent computer experts to mend our troubled voting system: a voter-verified paper ballot audit trail with a 2% random audit.

Muddying the waters are…

II. “Decoy” bills HB80 / SB63 which require ‘vote verification’s but leaves the solution undefined. This has led to all kinds of untested, uncertified and insufficient technologies to be considered (and all kinds of big lobbying money) to be pressing their case with overloaded Annapolis legislators. It also boots the decision back to the SBE – truly a ‘fox in the henhouse’ outcome.

III. “Study” bills HB479 / SB849 which proposes to have the prototype technologies listed above tested in upcoming municipal elections. TrueVoteMd has looked into these technologies and the short story is: CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR AND TELL THEM TO SUPPORT THE TRUE BILLS!!

CALL NOW TO PROTECT THE VOTE!

Seriously, now is the time to make two calls:

1) Sheila Hixson is the House committee chair who needs to hear: “VoteHB107 favorably out of committee.” Explain that you want to know who wins the Governor’s race next year :). Then find a friend or neighbor to call.

2) Then call Paula Hollinger Senate committee chair who needs to hear the same thing: “Vote SB9 favorably out of committee.” Explain politely that there are slates of candidates forming and she may pay at the ballot box. Say whatever you like but please do call! Then pass this on to friends and neighbors and get them to call.

If you HATE calling, then we’ve got easy and updated “Click and Send” letters on the TrueVote web site: For Sheila and her committee and for Paula and her committee.

3) I know most of you already called your own legislators, but if you haven’t, the TrueVote site has a link for finding them too. Some phone numbers are below.

PS: Legislator phone numbers below with a few notes from last year:

Senate Education, Health, and Environment Affairs Committee

* Indicates co-sponsorship of SB 9 (the “good” bill); # Indicates co-sponsorship of SB 63 (the “bad” bill). Please note that there is an alarming level of support for SB 63, and thus those senators and those whose opinion we do not know would be the most important ones to call. Be sure to call the chair and vice chair of the committee.

Chair: #Paula C. Hollinger (D), 410-841-3131 – definitely call
Vice Chair: #Joan Carter Conway (D), 410-841-3145 – definitely call
# Gwendolyn Britt (D), 301-858-3745
# Jim Brochin (D), 410-841-3648 – call
Richard F. Colburn (R), 410-841-3590
# Roy P. Dyson (D), 308-858-3673 (sponsor of SB 63) – definitely call
* Janet Greenip (R), 410-841-3568
#* Sharon Grosfeld (D), 301-858-3137 (co-sponsor of both bills; do call her)
* Andrew P. Harris (R), 410-841-3706 (sponsor of SB 9)
Allan H. Kittleman (R), 410-841-3671
# Paul G. Pinsky (D), 301-858-3155 – definitely call

House of Delegates Ways & Means Committee

* Indicates co-sponsorship of HB 107 (the “good” bill); # Indicates co-sponsorship of HB 80 (the “bad” bill). Please note that there is an alarming level of support here also for the “bad” bill, and thus those senators and those whose opinion we do not know would be the most important ones to call. Be sure to call the chair and vice chair of the committee.

Chairman: Sheila E. Hixson (D), 301-858-3469 – definitely call
Vice Chairman: #Anne Healey (D), 301-858-3528 – definitely call
Joseph R. Bartlett (R), 301-858-3107
* David B. Broschert (R), 301-858-3223 – good last year
K. Bennett Bozman (D), 410-841-3431 – good last year
# Jon S. Cardin (D), 410-841-3342 (sponsor of HB 80) – definitely call
Jean B. Cryor (R), 301-858-3090 – probably a supporter, call
Clarence Davis (D), 410-841-3257
D. Page Elmore (R), 410-841-3433
# Terrill R. Gilleland, Jr. (R), 410-841-3233
Marshall T. Goodwin (D), 410-841-3030
Michael R. Gordon (D), 301-858-3557
Henry B. Heller (D), 301-858-3528
Carolyn J. B. Howard (D), 301-858-3074
# Anne R. Kaiser (D), 301-868-3380 – do call
# Nancy J. King (D), 301-858-3037 – really battered last year by supporters, do call
# Salima Siler Marriott (D), 410-841-3255 – call
# Robert A. McKee (R), 301-858-3447
# Leroy E. Myers, Jr. (R), 301-858-3435 – really against, don’t bother to call
Obie Patterson (D), 301-858-3210 – subcommittee chair, do call
Victor R. Ramirez (D), 301-858-3326 – strongly with us last year
Justin D. Ross (D), 301-858-3058 – new, but solidly with us

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