Hard to Know Who Actually Won in Maryland Political Races

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Hard to Know Who Actually Won in Maryland Political Races

MARYLAND - 1/2/2009

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Based on a lawsuit filed by Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler in late December 2008 against the supplier of Maryland’s voting machines, it is conceivable that election results may have been inaccurate since the machines were purchased in 2001.

As stated in the suit, Maryland discovered that the approximately $90 million purchase of equipment landed the state with machines that were susceptible to fraud and breeches of security. The lawsuit names Premier Election Solutions (formerly Global Election Systems and Diebold Election Systems) as defendant in the $8.47 million action.

Independent investigations of the machines and the system, which were initiated in 2004 demonstrated the flaws in the system. Since that time, the state has spent in excess of $8 million to repair the machines. The lawsuit seeks to recoup the moneys spent trying to correct the identified flaws.

The 2004 study concluded that the voting system did not meet the state’s information Security Policy and Standards and that further work was required to ensure that there was, in place, a process checks and balances, which ensured the integrity of the system. Perhaps one of the most disconcerting findings showed that the system neither guaranteed election vote totals nor transmitted election results with 100 percent verifiably accurate results.

Because of the findings, the state performed a system-wide risk assessment of the operation. When the assessment concluded, each modification required a subsequent risk assessment to be completed before proceeding with other modifications.

Some of the modifications were to provide adequate access controls and verification that the software was loaded as specified. Other modifications were required because the original voting system did not have audit logs and controls that preformed as specified.

During the corrective modifications, the State spent almost $8.5 million. The lawsuit seeks remuneration of these moneys by the supplier.

The defendant has 30 days to respond to the original interrogatories presented in the 2008 lawsuit.

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