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Maryland Will Return To Paper Ballots In 2016

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The search is on for new machines to replace Maryland’s touch screen voting system.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports the state is moving toward a paper trail.

Maryland voters raised a ruckus in 2004 after the state moved to electronic voting machines that eliminated paper ballots and still raises suspicions.

“We want every time you vote in Maryland, you get a receipt,” said one protester.

To avoid the fear of computers eating voters, the General Assembly set 2016 as the goal for instituting a paper ballot system and now it’s time to shop.

“When we say `paper ballot,’ what do we mean?” said Linda Lamone, State Board of Elections.

It’s a complicated process to buy the machines and will take a major overhaul to get them ready in time for the next presidential election.

“Then we have to do a very extensive public outreach because the voters in Maryland have been using a very different voting system,” Lamone said. “We need to make sure people know how to vote when they go to the polls in 2016.”

How will it affect the voters’ comfort level?

“I would like a paper ballot,” said one.

“We shouldn’t go back,” said another.

The switch to paper ballots was delayed until now because of limited funding.

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