New Voting System - What you Need to Know
On October 30, 2014, the members of the State Board of Elections unanimously selected and certified Maryland’s new voting system for 2016 – Election Systems & Software’s (ES&S) EVS 188.8.131.52. The contract to lease the equipment was approved by the Board of Public Works on December 17, 2014.
The new voting system features the following pieces of equipment:
- DS200 Precinct Scanner and Tabulator: Tabulates ballots marked either by hand or by the ballot marking device
- ExpressVote Ballot Marking Device: Produces a voter verifiable paper record and allows voters with disabilities to vote privately and independently
- ExpressPass Printer: Prints activation card to activate the ExpressVote ballot marking device
- DS850 High Speed Central County Scanner: Tabulates absentee and provisional ballots
Maryland’s new voting system produces a voter-verifiable paper record – a “paper trail” – of each voter’s selections. This was mandated in legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2007, however funding for a new system was not available until now.
In 2016, your voting options will vary between early voting and election day. This arrangement is the result of balancing logistics and equipment costs.
During early voting, all voters will use an ExpressVote ballot marking device similar to the touchscreen machines Marylanders have used to mark their ballots for a decade. These devices will print voters’ selections on a paper ballot card. Voters will then review their ballots and then insert them into the DS200 tabulation device. The ballots automatically drop into the secure ballot box.
On election day, Maryland voters will have options. Some voters, including voters with disabilities, will use ExpressVote ballot marking devices to mark and print their ballots while other voters will mark pre-printed paper ballots by hand. All voters will review their marked paper ballots and then insert them into the DS200 tabulation device. The ballots will automatically drop into the secure ballot box. On election day, the number of ExpressVote ballot marking devices available at each polling place will be limited.
ExpressVote ballot marking devices are necessary during early voting to simplify the process of making all ballot styles for a particular county (or Baltimore City) available at each early voting center within the county. During early voting, as many as 110 different ballot styles need to be available to voters at each early voting center. Achieving this with pre-printed paper ballots would be unworkable. In contrast, on election day when most polling places need just one or two ballot styles, using pre-printed paper ballots is both practical and cost effective.
If you want to learn about how SBE selected this system, visit the Voting System Selection and Procurement webpage.