XENIA — Greene County voters will likely see reductions in wait-times at the polls in the upcoming Nov. 3 election, thanks to the purchase of 115 iPads to be used at all the county’s polling locations.
Greene County Commissioners recently approved spending about $158,600 for e-poll books. The county will receive an 85 percent reimbursement — about $134,800 — for the purchase from the state as part of $12.7 million set aside by the state legislature for such purchases.
The iPads will be used to check voters in when they get to their voting location, replacing the paper poll books that were used previously. According to Greene County Board of Elections Director Llyn McCoy, the move will “absolutely” cut down on wait times at the polls.
“We’ve found that in checking in voters the old paper-based way, they could take up to two-and-a-half minutes to actually go through the process of checking a person’s ID and finding them in the signature book and having them sign,” McCoy said. “We’ve gone from a little over two minutes down to about 40 seconds when the poll workers are comfortable with the equipment. … It really, really is very easy.”
According to McCoy, the new units allow poll workers to scan a voter’s driver’s license or state-issued ID to get them checked in. Workers can also type in a voter’s name manually. The e-poll books will also alert poll workers if an individual is in the wrong voting location.
The e-poll books will also make things easier for board of elections workers in the aftermath of the election.
“When we come back and we upload voter history to make sure that everyone gets credit for voting, it takes us approximately two-and-a-half to three weeks with a staff of four doing that by hand,” McCoy said. “We’re going to cut down that to a half day and one person.”
Even with the new technology, the board is still preparing in case the e-poll books don’t work. With this election, poll workers will still have the paper poll books and information on hand, just in case.
“We told our poll workers you’re always going to have hiccups,” McCoy said. “When you implement something new to say is it going to be 100 percent perfect? We hope so, knock on wood, but probably not. We’re prepared for that.”
McCoy said each polling location will have at least two iPads, with larger locations having more.