Poll workers would be able to trade their paper and pens for laptops and printers by next year’s fall elections under a plan Wisconsin election officials approved Tuesday to develop electronic poll books. The state Elections Commission voted unanimously to have its staff develop e-poll book software and offer it to local election clerks on a pilot basis beginning in February. The commission plans to offer the software to clerks statewide by the August 2018 primaries. The project is expected to cost about $124,865 in staff time. Municipalities that decide to use the system would have to purchase hardware such as laptops and printers at a rate of $475 to $970 per voter check-in station at the polls.
Commission staff insisted the move would create dramatic administrative efficiencies and shorten lines at the polls. The books could be programmed to accept Election Day registrations, track absentee ballots and provide access to lists of felons who can’t vote. They would be compatible with the commission’s existing programs, making it easy to upload and share information and statistics. They also could be programmed with guides to help poll workers navigate problems as they arise on-site, reducing training time and speeding up lines, staff members told the commission.
… Rydecki said access would require two-factor authentication. That’s a setup that calls for two pieces of information, much like how people need both a bank card and a PIN number to withdraw money from an automated teller. Sarah Whitt, the lead staffer for WisVote, the statewide voter registration system, added that staff would work closely with information technology experts within Gov. Scott Walker’s administration to ensure security.