Election panel asks for new tech funding

Posted 3/19/19

The Bradley County Election Commission is including funding requests for new technology in its 2019-2020 budget request.

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Election panel asks for new tech funding


The Bradley County Election Commission is including funding requests for new technology in its 2019-20 budget request.

Election commissioners met Monday to review the budget and conduct other business.

Administrator of Elections Fran Green said she is awaiting a few final numbers before the budget can be finalized, but reviewed the technology needs. She said the budget includes a funding request for electronic poll books to be used at the early voting locations and Election Day voting precincts. Green said these are not the Poll Pad devices the Election Commission had previously tested; the Bradley County Commission last year denied the funding request for Poll Pads.

Green said the Rutherford County Election Commission bought laptop computers and used special software to help streamline the election process. Instead of poll workers flipping through printed pages of registered voters, each voter’s name can be searched and found by any of the poll workers using an electronic poll book.

Shuch asked if they could get an explanation of the program. Green said she will check on that, or that the local election commissioners could go to Rutherford County for a demonstration. Shuch asked if Rutherford County has had any problems using electronic poll books, and Green said they haven’t.

“I like the fact Rutherford County has been using them and hasn’t had any trouble,” Shuch said.

Green said it will cost approximately $16,000 to buy two electronic poll books per precinct and six extras.

“It makes a lot of sense,” Election Commissioner Dana Burgner said, adding they will “have a pretty good savings” in using the electronic poll books from having to pay fewer poll workers, as well as costs in time and printing of paper poll books.

Green said her office prints the poll books in a day then has to put them together. After the election, her office has to do a manual voter history, a process “that takes weeks.” The process would take a fraction of that time with electronic poll books.

Election commissioners voted to include laptop computers in the funding request. They also voted to approve the 2019-2020 budget Green proposed.

In other business, the Election Commission:

• Approved a new maintenance procedure for Bradley County’s voter registration list. Green said the last program was adopted in 2015 and the new one is essentially the same except for the removal of wording to specify a voter cannot be flagged as inactive for not voting.

• Approved a voter registration appeal for a prospective voter who marked the box noting they are a felon, but now claims the box was marked in error. Green said the office has confirmed the prospective voter is not a felon.

• Approved the minutes from several meetings in 2018, including March 19, April 2 and 9, May 9, July 2, Aug. 8, Sept. 18, Oct. 1 and Nov. 19.

• Discussed early voting locations for the March 2020 Presidential Preference Primary. Election Commissioner Cristy Schuch said she would like to return to the location near Planet Fitness, off APD 40, used last year.

Green said she is concerned about going back to using a trailer for an early voting location because hard-wired internet will need to be used going forward. She said there were issues with wireless internet used last year.

Election commissioners agreed to look at options for a Southside location.


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