A Minnesota task force studying a higher-tech voter verification process leaned away Monday from recommending that electronic poll books be mandatory in every precinct for the 2014 statewide election. Several panel members highlighted concerns over equipment costs, security protocols and timing while describing a full-scale rollout by next fall as a tall order. The task force will deliver its final recommendations to the Legislature in January and could call for more experimentation. “We need to make sure we don’t do it too soon — before we are ready,” said task force member Max Hailperin, a professor of mathematics and computer science at Gustavus Adolphus College.
Election administration has taken on a larger profile in Minnesota given recent history with lengthy recounts in consecutive elections for U.S. Senate and governor. The Legislature sought the electronic roster study after voters defeated a constitutional amendment that would have required a government-issued photo ID to obtain a ballot.
Advocates of the e-poll books say they’ll add another tool against voter fraud, cut wait times and reduce errors from data now entered manually. Discussion has shifted away from requiring that photos be part of the electronic rosters, however.