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Md. diminishes the value of paper ballots

Meghan McCorkell reports.

I am grateful to Philip B. Stark and Poorvi L. Vora for alerting Maryland voters to the information that the State Board of Elections will be using images of ballots, rather than our cast ballots, to audit the General Election. ("Maryland voting audit falls short," Oct. 28.)

Those of us who worked for over a decade to secure a paper ballot in Maryland argued that an optical scan voting system would provide a voter-verified paper record of our votes that would be available for audits and recounts. We celebrate the fact that we finally have that system this year.

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Now we learn that the SBE will turn to another "black box" software system to audit not our ballots but images of the ballots. Moreover, the audit will not be observed by the public and may well occur in the offices of the software company, Clear Ballot Group, Inc., headquartered in Boston. Will the SBE further diminish the hard-won security value of paper ballots by providing those images to Clear Ballot over the Internet? This is not the way to verify an election outcome.

Mary H. Kiraly, Bethesda

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The writer is a founder of the Maryland Election Integrity Coalition and a former member of the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

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