E-Pollbooks continue ensuring election integrity

SEPTEMBER 7, 2011Election News

Laptops headed to precincts in 50 counties before November elections

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced today that the electronic pollbook program is expanding into over 1,200 additional precincts in 50 counties for this fall's elections.

"I am pleased to see more jurisdictions taking advantage of this program, which helps eliminate voter fraud and reduce the possibility of clerical errors," said Johnson, Michigan's chief elections officer. "Together we're working to speed up voting times at the polls while further ensuring election integrity."

The E-Pollbook system is a custom software application developed by the Bureau of Elections. It runs on a laptop computer and greatly streamlines many of the time-consuming processes that can result in long lines at the polls. The laptops are purchased using federal funds provided through the Help America Vote Act. Staff from the Bureau of Elections train county, city and township clerks, and clerks then train their precinct workers. Over 1,800 precincts in 61 counties received E-Pollbooks last year. Each precinct receives one laptop. After this year's purchases, approximately 60 percent of precincts statewide will be running elections using E-Pollbooks.

This year's largest recipients include the city of Detroit, which is receiving laptops for 529 precincts and the city of Livonia, which is receiving laptops for 44 precincts.

The E-Pollbook works like a paper pollbook, which has been used in Michigan precincts for decades. Under E-Pollbook, voters have their driver's license or state identification card swiped electronically. The precinct worker is quickly able to verify eligibility to vote, assign a ballot, update voting history and create all the documentation required when the precinct closes. If the voter is in the wrong precinct, the E-Pollbook can also identify the location of the voter's correct precinct.

"The major benefit to the E-Pollbook has been the reduction in election cost," said Sarah Bydalek, Walker city clerk. "Regardless of the size or type of election, worker cost has been reduced significantly. Our voters also appreciate the shorter wait time, as the E-Pollbook expedites the check in process on Election Day."

Information about elections in Michigan is available at www.Michigan.gov/elections. You may also sign up for official Secretary of State Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/Michsos) and Facebook updates (www.facebook.com/Michigansos).

For additional information on the Department of State, customers may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a customer-service representative at (888) SOS-MICH (767-6424).

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