Planning is underway for the Fulton County Board of Elections to move to electronic pollbooks.
Secretary of State Jon Husted last week announced that county boards of elections may begin moving forward with the purchase of e-pollbooks. The General Assembly appropriated $12.7 million to aid county governments in covering the cost of upgrading to e-pollbooks during the biennial budget approved on June 30.
“E-pollbooks help voters more efficiently find their correct voting precinct which leads to less confusion and shorter wait times. We know that e-pollbooks create a better voting experience for voters and poll workers,” Husted said.
Fulton County is still relatively early in the process of switching.
“We are currently in the process of exploring the available e-pollbooks,” said Melanie Gilders, Fulton County Board of Elections director. “Our tentative goal is to implement in March 2016, however, there is nothing set in stone at this point and no purchase has been made to date.”
The state funding is intended to cover up to 85 percent of each county’s purchase cost with funds being distributed based on the number of voters in each county.
“The costs associated with the administration of elections weigh heavily on the minds of county commissioners,” said County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) Executive Director Suzanne Dulaney. “CCAO greatly appreciates the General Assembly, Secretary of State Jon Husted, and the Ohio Association of Election Officials for their leadership and support to provide state funding for electronic poll books. Electronic pollbooks have the ability to increase efficiency to counties when administering elections.”
The 21 Ohio counties who already implemented electronic pollbook technology are also eligible to take part in the state grant to recoup part of the costs associated with the upgrade. Henry and Wood are among the area counties that have already implemented the e-pollbooks.
“Boards of Elections around the state are excited to begin acquiring and deploying electronic pollbooks,” said Ohio Association of Election Officials Executive Director (OAEO) Aaron Ockerman “This proven technology holds the promise of a better voting experience for our voters and greater overall efficiency for local boards of elections.”