the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

September 21, 2006

Gov. Ehrlich Calls for Abandoning Electronic Voting, Returning to Paper


I don’t normally say much good about Republicans, but I’m having trouble seeing this move by Maryland’s Gov. Bob Ehrlich as a bad thing:

A week after the primary election was plagued by human error and technical glitches, Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) called yesterday for the state to scrap its $106 million electronic voting apparatus and revert to a paper ballot system for the November election.

“When in doubt, go paper, go low-tech,” he said.

Ehrlich is most interested in abandoning the Diebold electronic poll books used to check in voters, which featured prominently in e-voting critic Avi Rubin’s account of chaos at one Maryland polling place. The idea would be to go back to a paper-based system of printouts of voters that are manually checked off, like what we use in DC. But Ehrlich also wants to get rid of the electronic voting machines, if possible by November. He’s willing to call a special session of the Maryland General Assembly if necessary.

Unfortunately, Democratic leaders in the General Assembly want to keep the electronic system and throw good money after bad:

But [Senate President Mike] Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) dismissed the idea of a special session, saying elections officials should focus instead on fixing the current system.

“We paid millions. These are state-of-the-art machines,” said Miller, who called Ehrlich’s announcement a political ploy to energize his Republican supporters.

I don’t care how much money has been spent already. When you’ve instituted a poorly designed system that disenfranchises votes and undermines people’s faith that votes are counted correctly, you need to recognize that you’ve made a mistake and move immediately to fix the problem.


  1. He may be right here, but that’s still not much of a reason to vote for “let’s all get slot machines” Ehrlich.

    —ortsed • 10:33 am

  2. That’s true. I’d be interested to hear what Martin O’Malley has to say on the subject.

    Keith2:19 pm

  3. yeah, it’s kind of backwards. i read the article this morning and was trying to think what tricks he could have up his sleeve with paper ballots!

    daedalus4:28 pm

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