Maryland elections officials shut down network to transmit voter data during special primary because of delays
By Kevin Rector Feb 5, 2020
Excerpts from the Baltimore Sun article linked here
A network designed to transmit Maryland voter data to state officials during elections had to be shut down during the 7th Congressional District primary because it was causing significant delays at polling sites, the Maryland State Board of Elections said Wednesday.
State officials were using the network for the first time on an election day during a special primary in the district, which includes parts of Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County.....
The problem involved pollbooks, the tablet-like computer terminals that elections staff use to pull up voters’ registration information.
The issue did not prevent anyone from voting, nor did it create other problems, officials said. The state simply reverted to a process it’s relied on for years: Polling officials physically removed the pollbook databases after the polls closed at 8 p.m. and drove them to their local boards of election for uploading to the state network....
For Tuesday’s primary, poll workers were to use the networked pollbooks to pull up voters’ registration information and send it back to the state in real time. The information would include anyone voting by absentee ballot.
About 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, local polling officials reported to state officials that pollbooks were functioning very slowly as they tried to pull up voters’ registration information from databases stored on the devices, Charlson said.
About 6 p.m., state board officials disconnected the pollbooks in Howard County from the network, and saw an immediate improvement in their functioning, Charlson said. They disconnected pollbooks in Baltimore City and Baltimore County between 6:15 p.m. and 6:20 p.m. and saw similar improvements, she said.
State elections officials said the network is needed because big jurisdictions have failed in past elections to get data to the state in time for it to be processed on the day after each election. That’s a necessary step to find any potential duplicate votes — like someone who voted by absentee ballot, but also showed up on election day to vote — and remove them before a state-mandated review of absentee votes, which is required to start at 10 a.m. on the second day after an election....
There are no plans to introduce the network in smaller jurisdictions. Kagan said the fact that the network is not being used in all counties, just in big ones with large Democratic voter bases, isn’t right.“There is a political and ideological implication or result if we slow down access to the voting booth in Democratic areas,” she said....
This is a disturbing sentence!
"big jurisdictions have failed in past elections to get data to the state in time for it to be processed on the day after each election"
One or more of the larger counties have not been able to collect their voting data by the day after the election?
That does not sound like a technology problem, it sounds like yet another personnel problem!
That single statement should set warning bells off all over the state and in every voters' mind.
What are pollbooks?
They are the devices used to check in voters, make certain the person coming to vote is registered, and which precinct is their correct precinct so that they get the right ballot.