By KELSEY MILLER
ANNAPOLIS (March 1, 2012)—For Maryland's same-sex marriage bill, the ayes have it, but if it were not for the eyes of Delegates, the act's one-vote cushion might have been lost to a technical hiccup.
It turns out a computer glitch in the Maryland House of Delegates caused eight votes this session, including the same-sex marriage bill, to appear incorrectly on the chamber's electronic vote-counting board.
Most of the votes were unanimous and no outcomes were changed, said Delegate Brian J. Feldman, D-Montgomery, who announced the glitch in session on Thursday.
However, this session's most-debated bill thus far, the controversial same-sex marriage bill, was counted wrong by the system.
Delegates noticed there were actually 72 green lights, votes in the affirmative, when the screen showing the tallied votes read 71-67.
The green votes were counted incorrectly by the computer system, new this year in the Maryland General Assembly.
House Minority Leader Anthony O'Donnell, R-Calvert, worked with House Majority Leader Kumar Barve, D-Montgomery, and the Office of Information Services to review the system.
Once the problem was discovered, the group reviewed all past votes.
Of the eight votes affected by the glitch, six were unanimously passed. Another was a 129-4 vote, Feldman said.
The much-debated HB438, the Civil Marriage Protection Act, needed at least 71 votes to pass in the chamber, the number which appeared on the screen. Delegate John Bohanan, D-St. Mary's, had voted yea for the bill, but his number was not counted on the board.
The glitch could have sent the historic vote in a different direction, so legislators are closely watching the system.
"We have to make sure that everything is perfect," Feldman said. "It is obviously a very important piece of legislation."
The glitch is fixed, Feldman said, and all votes for the rest of the session will be closely examined in both the House and Senate.