By John Gideon on 7/26/2006, 5:31pm PT  

"More evidence tonight that many of this nation's elected officials remain somewhat out of step or just completely in the dark as far as their constituents are concerned. At least half the states in this country are now requiring a paper trail for electronic voting machine ballots. But in Maryland, that kind of common sense and concern about our democracy has hit a roadblock."


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DOBBS: More evidence tonight that many of this nation's elected officials remain somewhat out of step or just completely in the dark as far as their constituents are concerned. At least half the states in this country are now requiring a paper trail for electronic voting machine ballots. But in Maryland, that kind of common sense and concern about our democracy has hit a roadblock. Kitty Pilgrim has the report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After 2002, Maryland switched to all electronic voting machines. But this year the governor became worried about voting security and decided the state needed to move to a voter verified paper system for the upcoming midterm election. The House voted to switch from the Diebold all electronic touch screen system to a system with a paper trail. The governor set aside $20 million to switch. But the measure was killed by the state Senate.

ANDREW HARRIS, MARYLAND STATE SENATE: The governor put money in the budget. Everything was lined up to go, and it just failed in the last few days of the session because I think the Senate leadership and the committee leadership didn't want it to pass.

PILGRIM: Many Maryland officials are outraged at Linda Lamone, the state administrator of elections. She gave a litany of excuses for not making the switch. Some voters would find it too difficult to use the paper ballots and using paper ballot technology would stop innovation on a new system in the future.

LINDA LAMONE, STATE ADMINISTRATOR OF ELECTIONS: It's going to stifle and it has already to some extent, the development of any other kind of independent verification technologies.

PILGRIM: The director of policy for the governor charges that Diebold had undue influence of election administrators.

JOSEPH GETTY, MD GOVERNOR'S DIRECTOR OF POLICY: There are two states that started very early with Diebold, Georgia and Maryland, and those are the marquee states for the Diebold system. Both election administrators, Linda Lamone in Maryland, have a national reputation based upon their quick advancement of e-voting in Maryland.

PILGRIM: He adds...

GETTY: ... In Maryland politics, strange thing happen all the time. Obviously, the vendor had lobbyists working the issue.

PILGRIM: So Diebold's electronic voting machines will be used for all 24 voting districts in Maryland in November.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: Now, Maryland election officials defend their decision. They say we take machines from Diebold, we run additional tests and as a result we have a high level of confidence in the system. But the rest of the country is more concerned. And 27 states around the country have introduced legislation to require a voter-verified paper trail because of security concerns, Lou.

DOBBS: The House wants it, the governor wants it, the Senate leadership and the committee leadership along with the Lamone, who apparently is very enthusiastic about Diebold voting machines, fighting it. Is this a Republican/Democrat issue?

PILGRIM: They say that politics are involved, but they say really it's more that they're very beholden to the system that's in place.

DOBBS: Is the Senate Democrat or Republican?

PILGRIM: Democrat.

DOBBS: Democrat. Thank you very much. Appreciate it, Kitty Pilgrim. This is incredible, this story on e-voting machines and the impact around this country.