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Maryland Professors at the Polls: A Pilot Project Encouraging Faculty (and Students) to Serve as Poll Workers in the 2006 Elections
Unformatted Document Text:  Constitution of Maryland. 6 The combination of new voting machines, changed rules on absentee ballots, and the reversal on early voting, led to confusion among voters and county election officials charged with training election judges in Maryland. These changes influenced popular opinions about the perceived fairness of Maryland’s voting system in 2006. The resulting fallout shook voter confidence and trust in the state’s electoral process that may take several election cycles to restore. Three different problems plagued the 2006 Maryland Primary election. First, new electronic voting check-in system, (known as “e-poll books” also made by Diebold), shut down and rebooted without reason on Primary Day. This was experienced by many volunteers in the project and resulted in changes by the General Election Day. 7 Second, in Montgomery County (the state’s largest jurisdiction) election officials forgot to include Voter Access Cards (VACs) in the election judge packets. Unable to operate the touch screen system, thousands of voters were forced to vote on provisional paper ballots or return later in the day to cast their votes. (Several volunteers vividly recounted the scope of these problems to us in their responses to the program.) Third, inadequate training and a shortage of election judges led to numerous cases of polling places opening hours late and oftentimes with long lines, particularly in the city of Baltimore and Prince George’s County. 8 Again, volunteers in this project confirmed similar problems at their polling 6 The written ruling of the Court of Appeals makes it clear that the Maryland Constitution holds that elections must be held on a single day in November, and that voters must cast their choices in home election districts. The 2007 General Assembly session is expected to take up the question of changing the Constitution by statewide referendum in order to allow early voting by 2008. 7 Diebold fixed this computer problem in time for November’s General Election. 8 Eric Siegel, Julie Scharper, and Sumathi Reddy, “Judge Problems at Heart of Poll Issues,” The Baltimore Sun, September 15, 2006. Melissa Harris, “State First To Use Poll Equipment,” The Baltimore Sun, September 16, 2006. 6

Authors: Messitte, Zach. and Cain, Michael.
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Constitution of Maryland.
The combination of new voting machines, changed rules on absentee ballots, and
the reversal on early voting, led to confusion among voters and county election officials
charged with training election judges in Maryland. These changes influenced popular
opinions about the perceived fairness of Maryland’s voting system in 2006. The resulting
fallout shook voter confidence and trust in the state’s electoral process that may take
several election cycles to restore.
Three different problems plagued the 2006 Maryland Primary election. First, new
electronic voting check-in system, (known as “e-poll books” also made by Diebold), shut
down and rebooted without reason on Primary Day. This was experienced by many
volunteers in the project and resulted in changes by the General Election Day.
Second,
in Montgomery County (the state’s largest jurisdiction) election officials forgot to include
Voter Access Cards (VACs) in the election judge packets. Unable to operate the touch
screen system, thousands of voters were forced to vote on provisional paper ballots or
return later in the day to cast their votes. (Several volunteers vividly recounted the scope
of these problems to us in their responses to the program.) Third, inadequate training and
a shortage of election judges led to numerous cases of polling places opening hours late
and oftentimes with long lines, particularly in the city of Baltimore and Prince George’s
County.
Again, volunteers in this project confirmed similar problems at their polling
6
The written ruling of the Court of Appeals makes it clear that the Maryland Constitution holds that
elections must be held on a single day in November, and that voters must cast their choices in home
election districts. The 2007 General Assembly session is expected to take up the question of changing the
Constitution by statewide referendum in order to allow early voting by 2008.
7
Diebold fixed this computer problem in time for November’s General Election.
8
Eric Siegel, Julie Scharper, and Sumathi Reddy, “Judge Problems at Heart of Poll Issues,” The Baltimore
Sun, September 15, 2006.
Melissa Harris, “State First To Use Poll Equipment,” The Baltimore Sun, September 16, 2006.
6


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