Former candidate calls for Montgomery County election changes -- Gazette.Net







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A former Republican congressional candidate wants Montgomery County elections officials to investigate reports of voting irregularities and change election procedures to reduce the risk of tampering.

Kenneth Timmerman, who challenged Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) for the District 8 seat in 2012, said the county’s practice of delivering voting machines to polling places as much as a week before voting begins leaves the touchscreen voting machines vulnerable attacks such as the uploading of programs that could manipulate vote totals.

After reports of malfunctioning machines and improper voter identification practices, Timmerman conducted his own investigation of voting procedures. After obtaining the records of one voting machine reported to be malfunctioning — which included the vote totals as well as names and party affiliations of voters who used it — Timmerman said he called voters and tried to duplicate the recorded results for that machine but was unsuccessful.

Timmerman said he considers that an indicator of potential tampering, and that a broader investigation by the board was needed.

Timmerman asked the county Board of Elections Monday to deploy voting machines no more than 24 hours before voting begins — as is done in other counties — and that machines should ideally be kept under lock and key with video surveillance.

He also asked the board to guarantee proper enforcement of voter identification procedures, citing “dozens” of reports that people had showed up to the polls and given names they had to read from cards or cell phones, or gave names but needed to be prompted to give a matching address.

People who cannot properly identify themselves should be required to vote provisionally, Timmerman said.

Board President Mary Ann Keeffe initially said the issues Timmerman raised were more the concern of the State Board of Elections, but Timmerman responded that the responsibility for training election workers falls to the counties, as does the distribution and delivery of the voting machines.

State election law calls for the local boards to provide for delivery of equipment to polling places.

Keeffe said the board would look through Timmerman’s findings, and is likely to discuss those issues with state officials next month.