Maryland "voting equipment warranty bill" step in right direction

by Rob Richie // Published March 3, 2009
FairVote has worked closely with our former staffer Ryan O'Donnell, now director of Common Cause Maryland, in crafting a Voting Equipment Warranty bill to provide better protections for voters as the state purchases new voting equipment. The House of Delegates version of the bill is up for a hearing today, and we strongly urge members of the legislature to support it.

That said, it's time we as a nation move to stop outsourcing administration of elections -- to kick the vendors out and have a publicly owned and administered democratic process. Some states like Oklahoma and New York State fully own their equipment and manage it themselves (for the moment, at least, as both states are moving toward bringing vendors back in as they get new equipment), but we overwhelmingly rely on private vendors to service our voting equipment and software -- making it all too easy for voters to end up with shoddy products, lack of access to software code used in our elections and profit-gouging from companies whenever the public wants a sensible new feature added to their system.

We'll be returning to this topic. So, Maryland, let's keep your voters from another lemon, but let's raise our vision for what we can accomplish to secure confidence in our elections.