In a move that could ease lines on Election Day and one day allow Ohioans to vote at any polling location in their county, the Ohio Senate wants to provide $13 million to help all counties purchase electronic pollbooks. The proposal drew praise from county elections officials and Secretary of State Jon Husted, who said that for voters in the 19 counties that currently use electronic pollbooks, the check-in process is streamlined and wait times are reduced. “Electronic poll books are revolutionizing elections here in Ohio, making it easier for voters to cast ballots and saving valuable taxpayer resources,” said Shawn Stevens, president of the Ohio Association of Election Officials and a member of the Delaware County Board of Elections.
The funding was one of many changes Senate Republicans made to the new two-year, $71.3 billion budget. Debate continues and a full chamber vote is expected on June 17.
The plan is to replace the traditional thick paper poll books with electronic tablets that contain the voter file of the entire county. Workers can type in names and quickly search for the correct voter. For someone with a drivers’ license, the tablets can read the data and immediately call up the person’s information.