The state Board of Elections has been awarded a $78,000 grant to conduct an audit after the 2008 election to ensure that votes are counted accurately and that only qualified voters cast ballots.
Maryland's touch-screen voting machines have been the subject of criticism in recent years from activists who believe they could be manipulated and their results altered. Gov. Martin O'Malley included funding in his budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1 for optical scan voting machines, which allow for a manual recount. If approved by the legislature, those machines could be in place in 2010.
State officials said they plan to use the grant from the Pew Center on the States' Make Voting Work Initiative to conduct an audit using statistical and other techniques to find ways to ensure accuracy and fairness in elections, regardless of the type of voting machines used.