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HCIL-2002-25

Herrnson, P., Bederson, B., Abbe, O. (December 2002)
An Evaluation of Maryland's New Voting Machine
HCIL-2002-25, CS-TR-4429, UMIACS-TR-2002-107

Four counties in Maryland used new touch screen voting machines in the 2002 elections, replacing their mechanical lever and punch card voting systems with the AccuVote-TS touch screen voting machine manufactured by Diebold Election Systems. The Center for American Politics and Citizenship (CAPC) and the Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) at the University of Maryland conducted an exit poll in Montgomery and Prince George's counties to evaluate the performance of the new voting machines. In this second of two reports prepared by CAPC and HCIL on the new voting machines, we found that most voters like the new voting machines and trust them to accurately record their votes. However, a significant number of voters still have concerns about the new machines, many needed help using them, and some continue to report technical problems with the machines. Voters who do not frequently use computers or have not attended college had the most difficulty using the machines. Major Findings: ·Seven percent of voters felt that the touch screen voting machine was not easy to use, compared to 93 percent who felt it was easy to use or held a neutral opinion. ·Nine percent of voters did not trust the touch screen voting machine, compared to with 91 percent who did. Only 70 percent trusted the mechanical lever or punch card system they previously used. ·Three percent of voters reported encountering technical problems with the new machines. ·Nine percent of the voters asked for and 17 percent received assistance using the new machine. ·More than one-quarter of the voters who use computers once a month or less received assistance using the voting machine. ·One-third of voters who have not attended college received assistance using the voting machine. ·Voters in Prince George's County found the election judges to be more helpful than did voters in Montgomery County. Four counties in Maryland used new touch screen voting machines in the 2002 elections. Alleghany, Dorchester, Montgomery, and Prince George's replaced their mechanical lever and punch card voting systems with the AccuVote-TS touch screen voting machine manufactured by Diebold Election Systems. All 24 of Maryland's counties will purchase AccuVote-TS voting machines by 2006. The University of Maryland conducted an exit poll in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties to assess the performance of the new voting machine. Our sample included 1,276 respondents from 22 precincts in the two counties. The response rate was 74.6 percent.


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