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Opinion

Local Editorial: Montgomery elections board ignores voting anomalies

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Opinion,Maryland,Local Editorial,Montgomery County

On Monday, Montgomery County's Board of Elections received credible evidence of voting anomalies, but Chairwoman Mary Ann Keeffe insisted that investigating them was not the board's job.

One complaint involved problems with the county's Diebold touch-screen voting machines. In 2011, researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory reported that it was "ridiculously easy" to flip votes using $10 worth of electronic components.

Former Republican congressional candidate Ken Timmerman told the board that dozens of complaints were traced back to one voting machine in one Bethesda precinct. But when a group of citizens, attorneys, elected officials and software engineers tried to duplicate election results using the machine's voter ID card, "We could not."

Of 28 independents who voted in the 2012 election, Timmerman's team contacted 18. Five (more than 20 percent) said they voted for Timmerman, even though the machine recorded votes for Democratic incumbent Rep. Chris Van Hollen. Yet the board refused to act on Timmerman's recommendation that its hackable voting machines be delivered no earlier than 24 hours in advance and kept in locked storage with video surveillance.

Maryland's lax voting laws only require voters to verbally identify themselves before casting a ballot. But Timmerman said he personally witnessed people who apparently couldn't remember their own names and addresses who were still allowed to vote. He recommended that such forgetful voters be required to cast provisional ballots. Once again, the board couldn't be bothered.

Gaithersburg resident Bunny Galladora, national vice president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, told the board she used their registered voter database to mail information to 5,000 voters last October, a week before the 2012 election. But 230 were returned as "undeliverable."

Even more troubling, Galladora noticed while renewing her driver's license that same month that the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration's computer system listed the wrong party affiliation. When she objected, an MVA employee insisted the information was correct.

Another screen listed a Prince George's County man under Galladora's "Current Voter Information." She started taking cellphone photos of the computer screen, which she shared with The Washington Examiner, until an MVA supervisor closed down the line of computers. But when she took the photos to Montgomery's Board of Elections, county officials told her that "it was no big deal."

Fair elections are a big deal. And the board's primary responsibility is making sure that voting machines are secure, voting rolls are correct and election judges follow the law.

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