Electronic poll books will soon replace the paper books precinct workers use to check in registered voters during elections. Pat McDonald, director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, said he and other directors are elated to jettison the paper books, which is possible because the state will pay 85 percent of the cost. Elections boards are meeting with vendors and expect to have the technology in place by the presidential election in 2016, officials said. The new state budget included a $12.7 million appropriation for e-books, which will be distributed to the 88 counties based on percentage of registered voters.
“It will modernize the election system and get us into the 21st Century,” said Aaron Ockerman, executive director of the Ohio Association of Election Officials. “It saves taxpayer dollars and gets rid of a lot of the paper. It reduces staff time and is better for voters because they move through the lines faster.”
McDonald has been interested in acquiring electronic poll books since he tested a model in 25 precincts in 2013.
Cuyahoga County will receive $1.4 million and McDonald said he does not expect a problem providing its 15 percent share of $254,000. It could come from the department’s budget surplus of approximately $500,000, he said.