Thursday, September 21, 2006

Serious Growing Pains with E-Voting Machines ...

The Washington Examiner holds no punches on electronic voting machines in this latest editorial on the Maryland primary debacle last week. To date, ballots are still being counted in the MD CD-4 race between incumbent Rep. Albert Wynn (D) and activist challenger Donna Edwards who refuses to concede:

Maryland’s electronic voting machines are even worse than we thought. The Diebold AccuVote-TS that a Princeton team led by computer scientist Edward Felten obtained in May from an “undisclosed location” actually came from Maryland, The Examiner has learned. Felten’s team found it “vulnerable to extremely serious attacks” — including the spread of an undetectable computer virus via infected memory cards that could potentially change election data throughout the entire state.

Here is where it gets politically murky for Democrats in the state, who are hoping this election cycle will redeem them of mistakes made in 2002 when MD got its first GOP Governor in 36 years:

Blame this fiasco on “human error,” specifically that of Maryland elections administrator Linda Lamone — first appointed by former Gov. Parris Glendening and practically given life tenure by the Democratic-controlled state legislature in 2002 when Gov. Robert Erlich was elected as Maryland’s first Republican governor in 30 years. Lamone has known about these and other serious problems for at least three years.

But Lamone, who can only be removed by an 80 percent supermajority vote of the full elections board, deliberately chose to ignore clear warnings from academics and computer experts. Equally to blame is the Maryland Senate, which earlier this year killed a bill passed unanimously by the House of Delegates to require a paper trail for all elections.

Ehrlich, right now, is looking fairly pro-active on this issue by calling for paper ballots and favoring a total scrap of the electronic system. Maryland Democrats - in charge of the elections system and the state legislature - seem befuddled at the moment and fingers could ultimately point to them as culprits. It's Florida Part Deux in reverse.