By John Gideon on 9/14/2006, 6:36am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Tonight Lou reported on the complete failure of the Maryland primary. Thousands of voters were forced to vote on 'provisional' ballots instead of the state's vaunted Diebold Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines. At least those voters have a paper trail of their votes, but will they actually be counted? What a failure and it should all be laid at the feet of state Director of Elections Linda Lamone and Governor Ehrlich who both share responsibility for this failure.

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

Yesterday's primaries did nothing to ease concerns about the dangerous lack of electronic voting standards across the nation. Serious e-voting problems in Maryland yesterday, further evidence that the nation's democracy is at risk. Kitty Pilgrim reports.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Fifty days until the November elections, but Maryland's primary yesterday was a debacle. The entire state was supposed to use electronic voting, Diebold touch screen machines, but the Board of Elections forgot to make sure computer access cards for the majority of the districts would arrive in the morning.

The machines could not work without them, so poll workers told voters to come back later or use paper ballots instead. Lines were long, tempers short, the courts ordered polls to stay open late. In some cases when machines crashed, there were not enough paper ballots.

SHELLEY FUDGE, TRUEVOTEMD: Sometimes the election judges ran out and made xeroxed copies. In other cases, they were using sample ballots and in some cases, they were actually recording people's votes on scraps of paper.

PILGRIM: Maryland has long been a concern among voter activists because electronic voting machines do not have a voter-verified paper trail. The governor tried to fix that, setting aside $20 million to purchase a new system with a paper trail, but the measure was killed in the state Senate.

KEVIN ZEESE, MARYLAND SENATE CANDIDATE: You spend $100 million on machines where you can't do an independent audit. There's no way to know if the machine is right. And so we've waist wasted all this money on machines that can't do a transparent recount. It's pretty embarrassing.

PILGRIM: Avi Rubin is an election judge and a voter activist.

AVI RUBIN, AUTHOR, "BRAVE NEW BALLOT": In my precinct there were some pretty serious technical problems. The electronic poll books have replaced the sign-in cards that we used and they kept crashing. In fact, we took one of them off-line and then the other two kept crashing.

PILGRIM: Diebold says problems were because of human error and because the machines were operated incorrectly. Adding, there is a learning curve on all of this.


PILGRIM: Now the governor's office said they got more than 100 phone calls from voters complaining about the problems. They called it a systemic breakdown from top to bottom.

DOBBS: Systemic my, I think that the info is right about one thing. I think when everyone was blaming this on human error, Diebold, I think you said this, said it was human error, not their vaunted machines. I think it is human error. The error of buying and purchasing those Diebold machines, certainly at least in Maryland. Thank you very much Kitty Pilgrim.

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