An ACLU contact emailed me about a possible problem in Maryland of some electronic votes for Republicans being selected as votes for Democrats by the machines, against the voters’ wishes. This reminded me to write up my experience of voting this year. I’ve written before about problems I observed as an election judge in Maryland (see my security category). I did not serve as a judge this election, but I did encounter three problems when I participated in the early voting offered by my county:
- No obvious paper ballot alternative to electronic voting. When I was checking in, I was not asked about my voting preference. The courteous volunteer escorted me directly to an electronic voting station, with no mention of alternatives. There may have been something about an option on the posters on the wall, but I was in a hurry, as I’m sure many other voters are.
- As soon as I stuck my ballot card in the machine, it said I had voted already. Fortunately the volunteer who had escorted me to my station had only moved a few steps away in the direction of other voters, so when I called her back, she believed me when I protested I hadn’t had time to vote yet.
- Even when my voting issue was taken seriously by the judges, no one mentioned a paper ballot as an alternative (it was resolved with the help of another (more senior?) judge, by the issue of another ballot; I hope my vote actually was counted).
So, I continue to see issues with electronic voting in Maryland which do not inspire me with confidence in our electronic voting system — and the problems I encountered may not have been the worst. I have no issue with the people who volunteer to be judges and thank them all for their service! I just wish we had a better system for them to administer.