It all seemed so reasonable last year when the Indiana General Assembly adopted a law to require electronic poll books be certified. But theory and practice are often different things. “It has taken what was a reasonable process we’ve been using for five years and made it unreasonable,” Tippecanoe County Clerk Christa Coffey said, noting that primary voting starts here on April 8, and the county’s hardware has yet to be certified. The county has a digital database of registered voters. Each satellite voting site and vote center connects to the database through an electronic poll book — basically, laptop computers running software specifically designed for that specific purpose. When a voter signs in at a polling site, the electronic poll book immediately updates the database, indicating where and when the person voted. This prevents voter fraud, Coffey explained.
“Every site is connected, so that as soon as the voter votes, it updates for everybody,” she said. “It’s basically, if you have this voter’s file up and you click the right button, does it do the right functions to record what you want it to record?
“Last year the legislature passed as part of their process that e-poll books now had to be certified. It seemed innocuous enough.”
But the devil is in the details. Indiana’s Voting System Technical Oversight Program, which advises the Indiana secretary of state, didn’t publish its criteria and recommendations until the late fall, Coffey said.