April pilot program possible for some municipalities

By Gail Peckler-Dziki
Correspondent

The Wisconsin Elections Commission has been developing electronic poll books, which could be introduced in August, with some municipalities participating in a possible spring pilot program.

The major concern, however, is election security and the program would not be online.

Currently, votes tallied by optical scan machines are not transmitted through the internet and hold the data until the information is sent to the Kenosha County Clerk’s Office by modem after the polls close.

The E-Poll books are being developed in-house by the WEC, which make the system less expensive, compared to an outside vendor.

Additionally, in-house development of E-Poll books assures the system is compatible with the state’s MyVote system.

The MyVote Wisconsin website contains all information regarding voting in the state.

Through the website, voters can find their polling place, voting history, review ballots, register to vote or change a name or address.

Information put into the E-Poll books on Election Day would also be easily interfaced with MyVote Wisconsin, which cuts down data entry time for adding new voters, and making name and address changes.

Although voting history is recorded, the names of candidates voters selected are not, and information is only limited to when they cast a ballot.

The E-Poll book would also contain prompts that would help the election workers with Election Day registration and checking in registered voters, including whether they used acceptable photo identification.

Also, the E-Poll book helps determine ballot styles and directing a voter to the correct polling place if necessary.

Salem Lakes Village Clerk Cindi Dulaney said she is open to becoming part of the pilot program.

Moving to E-Poll books would streamline the process in other ways. One issue for Salem Lakes is the number of ballot styles and assigning of those styles to each voter.

Salem Lakes now has 13 precincts and a possible 12 ballot styles. The number is different for each election, depending what seats for what governmental agencies are on the ballot.

Its not always that easy to determine which style, but the E-Poll books would have that information available. The plan is to have a receipt with the voter number and ballot style that is printed after the voter checks in.

Currently, voter names are alphabetized in the books and voters get in line accordingly. There are times when voters arrive that the line for the book with their name is long and there may be no line for the other books.

The E-Poll books would not be alphabetized, allowing voters to choose the shortest line, shortening the time voters need to vote.

Twin Lakes Village Clerk Laura Laura Roesslein said that the E-Poll books are in the 2019 budget.

“We are ready to use these, but happy to wait for the bugs to be worked out,” she said.

 
 

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