The Champaign County Board of Elections will implement electronic poll books into the voting process starting this election.
In an effort to be more efficient, poll workers will now use this technology to instantly pull up voter information before a resident votes.
Board of Elections Director Kathy Meyer said when a voter hands a poll worker their driver’s license or identification, a webcam will read the back of the license. This will forward information about the voter that previously would be in books poll workers would scroll through.
Some information that would be provided to the poll worker includes whether they voted absentee or if they voted in the right precinct and where they need to vote.
Normally when a voter shows up in the wrong voting location, the poll worker has to reference a street listing guide. Meyer said poll workers should now be able to look at the voter’s information and print off information for the correct voting location.
Meyer said poll workers will still have to look at the ID to verify that it is valid. When a voter is set to sign in, they will now sign on a tablet instead of in a book.
“It should make (the process) more efficient, eliminate verbal miscommunications, make it simpler for the poll worker not to have to think alphabetically,” Meyer said. “Hopefully it will shorten the lines especially for presidential elections – that’s why we’re anxious to get started this election.”
Meyer stated the voting ballots will still be on paper and the major change in the voting process is voters will sign a tablet instead of paper when they sign in.
“There were several large counties that were using it and it’s just gotten to the point now where the state agreed to help fund it so us smaller counties can afford it,” Meyer said.
Meyer said money for the equipment was earmarked in the state budget and divided out by population. A document provided to the Champaign County Commissioners shows the state of Ohio paid $42,572.13 of the $51,712 total for the poll books and other items leaving $9,139.87 for the county to pay.
Meyer said the board has ordered 32 units for the 28 precincts in the county.