A Minnesota panel that led a pilot project around an electronic voter verification process is urging the Legislature to authorize a more extensive study this fall. The Electronic Roster Task Force was meeting Friday to finalize a report and proposed legislation. The recommendations they were set to adopt seek a broader examination of the effectiveness and expense of a higher-tech alternative to the paper sign-in process at polling places. The panel asks the state to pick up costs of the next study and any technological needs required for local election administrators to carry out the test. The review would occur at more sites and in a busier environment than the 2013 pilot. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said a higher turnout election would offer a better handle of the costs versus benefits.
“The takeaway is that it was a limited test with the ability to move some information digitally in one direction and in some very small precincts in a very light election and with many different vendors,” Ritchie said in a phone interview Thursday. “The true test is in a regular turnout election.”
Advocates of e-poll books argue they can guard against voter fraud, cut wait times and reduce errors from data now entered manually. The test didn’t include the use of voter photos in the electronic rosters and task force members found that technology is not ready to adequately support incorporating them.