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Does $1.2 million dollars sound like a lot to hire five contractors for nine months? It sure sounded shocking to Maryland lawmakers and voter advocacy groups. Recently, Maryland Reporter featured an article highlighting the transition from computerized voting to paper ballots in the state, slated to roll out for the 2016 presidential elections. The transition was recommended by Linda Lamone, the State Election Board Administrator.
The elections budget calls for the senior project manager position to receive up to $350,000, the deputy project manager $300,000, two business analysts $210,000 each and a technical writer $170,000. The budget figures are estimates, since the elections board has not yet selected contractors.
Del. Guy Guzzone (D-Howard) and Sen. James Robey (D-Howard) were both surprised by the estimates, while State Election Board Deputy Administrator Ross Goldstein defended the expenses in an email.
“We used an average from different vendors under the master contract to come up with our estimates for each of the labor categories we need,” Goldstein stated.
Many voter advocacy groups are pushing the return to paper ballots because of a lack of a paper trail and a fear of machines being subject to hacking. The primary advantages to paper ballots are increased security and the open observation of how votes are handled and counted.
In North Carolina a bill was introduced earlier this month that would require all ballots cast to be paper ballots, which could counted either by hand or by electronic scanner. One of the Representatives that introduced the bill, Rep. Bert Jones (R-Rockingham) expressed increased accuracy available with paper votes.
(WRAL)“Paper ballots give an accurate record of the vote,” Jones said Monday night as he left the House chamber. “There were some concerns during the last election.”
With several “prominent security experts” voicing their concerns in a letter to Maryland’s State Board of Elections, it’s apparent that we need to make changes. The question is, at how much of a cost to the taxpayer will the change take place?
Tags: Paper ballots vs. electronic ballots, Voter Fraud
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