Republican Head of State Calls for Paper Ballots this November!
By John Gideon on 9/22/2006, 11:06am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Last night Lou and Kitty tackled the argument in Maryland over whether Linda Lamone should just let Diebold do an investigation of what went wrong last week or whether Gov. Ehrlich should get his way and have the voters vote on paper ballots.

The text-transcript of tonight's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

DOBBS: Democracy at risk, and new developments tonight in electronic voting machines in Maryland. The recent primaries were such a debacle and disaster that the governor is now arguing that the state should altogether scrap the entire electronic voting system and return immediately to paper ballots. Kitty Pilgrim reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT, LOU DOBBS TONIGHT (voice over): $106 million for electronic voting machines in Maryland and the governor is basically calling them worthless. He wants the state to revert to a paper ballot system for the in November elections. But the election administrators says that is crazy. They fought publicly about it.

LINDA LAMONE, MARYLAND STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS: Whatever has happened in the past right now is irrelevant. We need to move forward.

GOV. BOB EHRLICH, (R) MARYLAND: Well, it's not irrelevant in the sense --- that's not pointing fingers --- this is why not have just a paper system, the old system, ready for backup.

LAMONE: You're assuming that the voting system is not going to work, that has never proven to be the case.

PILGRIM: Maryland is fully electronic with no paper trail. And the Maryland primaries last week were a litany of what can go wrong with electronic machines. Machines malfunctioned, election workers were flummoxed by breakdowns and missing access cards. New problems are found every day.

Just yesterday, they learned about votes that have not been counted in Prince Gorges County. One week after the primary, they still had to crack open the machines to retrieve the vote records. Many voter groups say a paper ballot is the only way to make sure of a secure election.

AVI RUBIN, AUTHOR, "BRAVE NEW BALLOT": All the disadvantages of fully electronic systems, namely potential for widespread rigging in an undetectable way, don't exist in the paper counterparts. PILGRIM: Maryland wouldn't be the first state to revert to all paper ballots. This year, Governor Bill Richardson pushed for and signed a law that changed New Mexico's patchwork of voting systems into an all-paper ballot system, saying he wanted to restore confidence in the elections.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: The election administrator says she wants to analyze the problem and force Diebold to fix the system. But the governor says, no, he wants to call a special session at the Maryland General Assembly to change the law and call for paper ballots, Lou.

DOBBS: So the governor is still in charge of that state, not the election supervisor?

PILGRIM: Let's hope so.

DOBBS: Kitty, thank you very much. Kitty Pilgrim.