In Howard County, regulations required voters to use touch-screen machines where available. People who didn't want to use the touch-screen machines were offered paper ballots, but then the election officials discarded them.
Elections officials said they allowed people to use the paper ballots because they wanted to ensure that everyone who wanted to cast a ballot did so. However, state regulations barred them from counting those votes, the officials said.
"We wanted to make sure that nobody leaves a voting precinct without voting," Howard County Board of Elections chairman Guy Harriman said. "But we could not count them. We really had no choice."
Election officials counted 97 legal paper ballots, not including absentee ballots, which also were paper.
However the board sent 22 voters who had access to touch-screen machines but decided to use paper ballots, letters explaining that their votes did not count, Harriman said, adding that the letters went out a week or two after the election.