Voters at selected polling places in 25 Alabama counties will check in via an iPad-based system this November. The system is part of a pilot program backed by Alabama Secretary of state John Merrill, in which an electronic system replaces the paper printouts of voter rolls that poll workers use to check off qualified voters as they prepare to cast their ballots. It applies only to that part of the process, not the creation of the voter rolls or the actual voting. Voters still will cast their votes on the same machines they’ve been using. … John Bennett, deputy chief of staff for Merrill, said that each participating county will have enough of KNOWiNK’s Poll Pad setups to deploy them at a few polling places, meaning that even in those counties most voters may not see them. But for those who do use the affected polling places, things will work a little differently. Instead of going to a specific line based on the first letter of his or her last name, a voter will simply go to whichever line is shortest. If the voter presents a driver license, the system will be able to scan it; if they’re using a different form of approved ID, the poll worker will look up the voter by name.
… Once a voter has been identified, he or she will sign in on the iPad touchscreen and get a receipt specifying which ballot to use. From that point, the process works as usual.
Supporters of the trial run say that they expect it to cut down on lines at polling places, which could be longer than usual this year. “We anticipate it could be the highest turnout in the history of the state,” Merrill has said. Backers also say the system should cut down on mistakes by poll workers, and save time and money after the election by updating voter rolls automatically.