Lawmakers will likely move forward with limited electronic-pollbook legislation this session, but it appears that the sense of urgency behind the voting technology has faded a bit. A state Senate committee passed legislation on Wednesday — a day after its House counterpart — that came out of a pollbook task force in late January. The task force recommended yet another study of electronic pollbooks during the 2014 mid-term elections and putting standards for pollbooks in state law. The electronic pollbook systems consist of laptops or tablet computers installed with voting administration software that advocates say improves election speed, helps with accuracy and reduces some costs over the current paper pollbooks.
Rep. Steve Simon, who chairs the House Elections Committee, said he anticipates electronic pollbooks won’t be considered for statewide use for at least another year. “I would imagine that when we come back here in 2015 the Legislature will act one way or another,” Simon said. “There will be a fork in the road at that point.”
But some lawmakers say Minnesota should be moving faster to adopt the potential next wave of election technology. And lawmakers, experts and advocates agree that pollbooksare beneficial to voters, poll workers and local government staff.