Vote Verification Technology
Across the country and in Maryland, there has been an on-going debate about the need to add vote verification technology to touchscreen voting systems. In response to this debate, the Maryland General Assembly passed Senate Bill 849 and House Bill 479 during the 2005 Legislative Session, which required the State Administrator of Elections to conduct a study of independent verification systems. Specifically, the legislation required a review and evaluation of independent verification systems, including at least one voter verified paper audit trail, for the State's current touchscreen voting system.The goal of the study was to determine:
- The independent verification system that provides the best method of independent verification of the accuracy of the voting system;
- The independent verification system that provides the best audit capacity;
- The costs of implementing independent verification systems;
- Whether there is a need to develop or modify existing software on the voting system to accommodate an independent verification system;
- Whether the independent verification systems are compatible to the voting system currently used in the State; and
- The usability of the independent verification systems by obtaining feedback from the public.
Although the Governor vetoed the legislation, he indicated in his veto message a desire to conduct the kind of study contemplated by the legislation. With the approval of the Department of Budget and Management, this agency commissioned the University of Maryland, Baltimore County to conduct a technical study of the independent verification systems, and the University of Maryland, College Park to conduct a usability study of the systems.The findings and reports of the vote verification system study are now available.