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Registration quicker with poll books

The results may not come in any sooner, since the polls still won’t close before 7 p.m. But voting in this election will be a lot quicker because of an investment by the county’s board of elections.

This Tuesday when a voter goes to vote, he or she will be registered via an electronic poll book.

“It used to take a minute and 45 seconds to 2 minutes to register,” election board member Mark McCown said. “Now it can be 30 to 45 seconds. It makes it easier for the voter.”

Before, a voter would come to a precinct table where workers would go through multiple books before the voter could get a ballot.

“When there are four or five precincts at one polling place it can cause voter confusion,” McCown said. “You would wait in line and end up at the wrong precinct.”

If the voter chose the wrong precinct, the whole process would have to start all over.

Now there will only be one registration table per polling place no matter the number of precincts there.

“You don’t have to try to figure out what precinct you are in,” McCown said.

The poll worker will keyboard the voter’s last name into the electronic tablet and the correct precinct name will come up. The voter will confirm identity, sign electronically and the worker will compare that signature with one in the electronic book.

Seventy tablets will be used on Tuesday at the 84 precincts. Where there are precincts with few voters, only a single machine will be used there. Cost for the entire Election Systems and Software system is approximately $110,000 financed by the county commission. However, the state is reimbursing the county for approximately $65,000.

Included in the system is a high-speed ballot counter that can count in 300 ballots per minute compared with the old machine that took 15 seconds per ballot.