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Md. lawmakers want uniform voting system

March 29, 2001

Md. lawmakers want uniform voting system



By LAURA ERNDE / laurae@herald-mail.com

Some Washington County lawmakers are worried that paper ballots will be eliminated when Maryland adopts a statewide voting system.

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The Maryland House of Delegates voted 120-16 Wednesday to adopt a uniform system to be chosen by the State Board of Elections.

"I think it's a large waste of money to make a shift to a system that we don't know the reliability," said Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington.

Shank and Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, voted against it because they don't want the county's system to change.

Shank said he believes the state will adopt touch-screen voting similar to the technology Sheetz patrons use to order subs. If so, there would be no paper trail to verify each ballot, he said.

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The optical scan ballot system has worked well, McKee said.

Since the computer-counted ballots were adopted in 1994, the county has had a lower rate of undervoting, according to a report by the Special Committee on Voting Systems and Election Procedures in Maryland.

The county's $107,000-a-year lease on the voting machines ends in July and no decision has been made on what to do from there, said Election Director Dorothy Kaetzel.

Since a statewide voting system has not yet been chosen, there are no cost estimates. The state has agreed to pay half the cost, with the counties picking up the other half.

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