During the 2013 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly required SBE to conduct four analysis and submit reports. See Chapters 157 and 158. This law required SBE to:
- Conduct a detailed analysis of options and administrative requirements for extending early voting through the Sunday before election
- Review the maximum wait times for Maryland voters in the 2010 and 2012 elections and identify the causes for wait times of more than 30 minutes and propose target maximum wait times for voters at early voting centers and polling places
- Conduct an accessibility and usability evaluation of the online ballot marking tool to assess its accessibility and usability by voters with disabilities
- Engage an independent consultant to study and make recommendations on improving the security of online delivery and marking of absentee ballots, the return and tabulation of absentee ballots that are delivered and marked electronically, online voter registration, and online absentee ballot applications.
During the 2014 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly required the collection of additional data on wait times for voters during the 2014 elections.
SBE contracted with the University of Baltimore to conduct the analysis on extending early voting, review maximum wait times, and conduct the usability and accessibility evaluation of the online ballot delivery system and write the required reports.
Extending Early Voting through the Sunday before Election Day
The research team considered various options for updating voter registration lists if early voting extended through the Sunday before the election and consulted with election officials in other states that offer voting on the Sunday before election day.
- Report: Voting and the Administration of Elections in Maryland - Part One: Early Voting in Maryland and Other States
The research team identified the causes of wait times and analyzed the deployment of voting equipment and related infrastructure and staff practices and procedures to determine what adjustments could be made to reduce wait times during early voting and on election day.
- Report: Voting and the Administration of Elections in Maryland - Parts Two, Three, and Four - January 15, 2014
- Report: Wait Time Observations from the 2014 Maryland General Election - January 15, 2015
Accessibility and Usability Evaluation of the Online Ballot Delivery System
The research team recruited individuals with disabilities to use the online ballot delivery system and performed two rounds of testing. The first round was conducted in the University's user research lab, and the second round was conducted remotely with voters participating from a computer of their choice.
Security Analysis of Online Voter Services
SBE contracted with Unatek, Inc., a Maryland-based information technology and security firm, to conduct the security review of the online voter registration, online ballot delivery, and ballot duplication systems.