MD OKs Diebold machines for election

But governor says mock election was inadequate and there is no guarantee that machines will operate smoothly on Election Day.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor
Maryland election officials have given the green light to the troubled Diebold electronic voting machines that set the state back $18 million. With that much money at risk, few were surprised to see the machines approved, despite the sound and fury state officials have engaged in since the primary election.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

Deputy elections Administrator Ross Goldstein said that officials witnessed more than 1,000 mock voters "check in" Thursday on the retrofitted machines, known as e-poll books and that the units did not sporadically stop communicating with each other as they did during primary voting last month.

That's an improvement from earlier last week when Diebold said the only solution was to use a mouse to bypass the on-screen functions. Voters who touched the screen would leave the machines vulnerable to error, despite the presence of the mouse.

"In particular, the solutions offered to maintain synchronicity have now been demonstrated to work with a mouse, with touch pad entry, and with both in combination," said state elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone in a statement.

But Gov. Robert Ehrlich continued his attack on the machines and accused Diebold of leaving a trail of broken promises.

"We know they work in a controlled setting," the governor's legislative aide, Joseph Getty said. "But will it work when election judges set it up and when they're in a school somewhere with all of the vagaries of Election Day stress?"

He also accused Lamone of not living up to her promises. He said that when he arrived at the hotel at 6:30 a.m., he expected the equipment to be in boxes, as it would have been on Election Day, and real election judges working to set up and network the system.

"Linda promised an election simulation," Getty said. "Instead, the equipment was all ready and Ross [Goldstein] is standing there watching all of these people wearing Diebold ID cards use it. That was not an election demonstration. That was a controlled demonstration by Diebold."

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