Voter check-in process introduces ePollbook



Tuesday’s elections will be the first general elections in Monroe County to utilize the new ePollbook system, which aims to facilitate voter check-in.

Before the ePollbook, the system of keeping track of people who had registered to vote and people who had voted early was all paper-based.

Monroe County Clerk Linda Robbins is highly supportive of the new ?system.

“ePollbook is the greatest invention since sliced bread,” Robbins said.

During the old system, one list, the poll list, contained the names of all the people in the precinct who were eligible to vote.

Another list, the signature list, had the signatures of all the precinct’s registered voters to be compared with a signature on Election Day to verify ?identity.

Then three more lists were printed, the A-, B- and C-lists.

The A-list contained the names of early voters who had voted through the Friday prior to Election Day.

The B-list contained everyone who voted between that time and the half-day Monday before the ?election.

The C-list came in on Election Day through the mail.

This paper system caused extraneous work for the poll workers the morning of Election Day.

“It was a bottleneck from Hades,” Robbins said.

If someone voted on Election Day, and it was later discovered that the person had also voted early, one of the votes would have to be pulled. The number of voters also had to be matched up at the end of the night between lists.

“ePollbook is the poll list, signature list, and A-, B- and C-lists all wrapped up into one,” Robbins said.

The electronic poll book, manufactured by the national company ES&S, is leased by Monroe County.

The lease is for three years because technology changes so frequently, Robbins said.

The barcode on the back of the voter’s driver’s license can be scanned to bring up information electronically, so poll workers don’t have to go through pages to find it. A copy of their signature from voter registration is also available.

The voter then signs a card reader and poll workers make sure there’s a “reasonable match” between the signature in the system and the signature on the pad.

Sherry Morris is one of the people who trains poll workers who will be using the machines.

“It saves time, it is very user-friendly with onscreen instructions and no longer do they have to flip big pages to find a voter to even check them in — it’s simply on a little screen that’s maybe eight inches by eight inches,” Morris, a deputy clerk in the Clerk’s office, said.

The new system made a “huge difference” in the primary election, Robbins said.

If someone has voted early, it’s already marked that they have voted.

“It’s faster for the voter, it’s way easier for the poll worker, and it automatically keeps track of the tallies of how many voters have come in and voted,” ?Morris said.

Clerks were happier because they didn’t have to do all the cumbersome work involved with the old paper lists.

“The only thing I heard from the poll workers in the primary is that they loved them as well,” Ruth Hickman, Monroe County Elections Supervisor, said.

Robbins said that there were no complaints during the primary elections associated with the machines, and there was no longer the “nightmare at the end of the day” associated with all of the clerical work necessary to wrap up an ?election.

The ePollbooks even helped after the primary election.

“For every person who votes, we had data entry after the election, and that doesn’t occur now,” ?Robbins said.

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