As Hennepin County, Minn., prepares to implement its new electronic poll book system in August, one of election officials’ main concerns has been how to train poll workers. The workers are wonderful, says Hennepin County Elections Manager Ginny Gelms, but many are older and not very comfortable using technology. Those worries proved unfounded when the poll workers in a neighboring county’s pilot project said they would return only if they could use the electronic poll books again. “That was a real eye-opener for me,” Gelms says. “It just makes their jobs so much easier that they love it.” This year’s presidential race has been unprecedented in many regards, but it’s not just the candidates who are making history. From registering voters online and nominating candidates during the conventions to casting ballots at the polls, new advances in technology continue to transform the election process. Jurisdictions throughout the country are hard at work modernizing outdated election systems, with new technologies that cut the time and cost of inputting registration data, reduce data entry errors, ensure citizens can’t vote more than once and make voting faster, easier and more convenient.
“It’s about the voter,” says Laura Sanchez, the county recorder in Navajo County, Ariz. “We’re all doing what we need to be doing to make sure their voices are heard.”
“There’s been a huge upswing in online voter registration and in the use of electronic poll books,” says Wendy Underhill, program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “They’re becoming part of the landscape of elections.”
A few jurisdictions are using new, wow-factor technology for the actual casting of the ballot, Underhill says. In jurisdictions such as Denver and Navajo County, voters can prepare their ballots electronically, then print them out for counting by scanning equipment. She advises jurisdictions looking into new technologies to plan well in advance, as it typically takes at least two years to get a new system designed and in place. “There’s always a next 2.0, 2.1, 2.2.”
Full Article: How Technology Is Shaping Voter Registration and the Election Process for States and Localities | StateTech Magazine.