Electronic poll books to be tested

By ALLEN MINCEY
Posted 10/5/17

     The primary election in May will see the first use of electronic poll books, but future elections using this type of voting process will be dependent on funding being …

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Electronic poll books to be tested

Posted

     The primary election in May will see the first use of electronic poll books, but future elections using this type of voting process will be dependent on funding being approved.

     The Bradley County Election Commission met Monday to discuss the elections that will occur in May, August and November 2018, and discussed the use of the electronic method of voting in those elections. However, only the May primary will definitely be using these poll books.

     That will be done at no cost by a company — MicroVote — that proposed the electronic method of voting for Bradley County. The company has agreed to loan Bradley County the proper equipment for that vote.

     However, after that, there will be a cost associated with the program, including not only the equipment but a maintenance agreement

     The maintenance agreement is one of the reasons the Bradley County Commission did not approve funding for the program during budget hearings this summer. A suggested was that funding might be possible beginning in the 2018 fiscal year in phases.

     Bradley County Commissioner Milan Blake, a former election commission member and now chair of the county commission’s finance committee, said that the maintenance fee, along with paper costs, led the county commission not to approve the requested funding.;

     He said that the phase-in process was proposed to begin in 2018. The election commission did not feel comfortable with that issue, and sought full funding for the program.

     The election commission learned from Administrator of Elections Fran Green that MicroVote said the company will provide the equipment for the May 2018 election at no cost. Commissioners agreed that this is being proposed by the company as it is trying to get Bradley County’s business, as well as show the process will work. With the electronic poll books, the election will still be transferred to the regular voting procedure so the new method will not affect the totals.

     The election commission did discuss whether to have the electronic poll book process at only one precinct, but instead agreed unanimously to it being tested at all 17 precincts.

     Election commissioners present at Monday’s meeting included chairman Travis Henry, Christy Schuch, Dana Burgner and Oscar Kelly. Duane Gilbert was unable to attend Monday’s meeting.

     • Green added that there have been 25 to 30 people who have registered electronically to vote in 2018.?The state legislature approved online voter registration this past session, and it began being utilized in July.


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