Electronic poll books will be used in more Mason County precincts during the primary election on May 21.
Mason County Clerk Stephanie Schumacher said the poll books were used in one precinct during the November election and there were no issues, so she wanted to roll them out further.
“It’s kind of a soft roll out,” she said.
According the Schumacher, the electronic poll book is used only for signing in when going to the polls to vote.
There are multiple ways to sign in on the machine, but a driver’s license is the quickest, according to Schumacher.
“They just scan their driver’s license and their information will show up,” she said. “It will tell the poll worker if the person is eligible to vote. There are other ways to sign in, such as showing their social security card, credit card or by identification from one of the poll workers. If they know you personally, they can manually enter your information.”
Schumacher said there are multiple advantages to using the epoll books, such as the ability to immediately know if someone is in the correct precinct, it lowers the sign in time and she can monitor the sign in from her office computer.
“If someone is in the wrong precinct, the machine will tell the poll worker where the person needs to be and they can even pull up the directions and send those directions to the voter,” she said. “And, when people sign in, I can monitor it from my computer, so long as they are connected to the Mifi provided to them. I’ll be able to tell how many people have checked in.”
Schumacher said she can also track the paper ballot usage in the precinct.
“The machine will track whether they have chosen to do an electronic ballot or paper ballot,” she said. “I can track the paper usage, so if they’re short, I’ll know without them needing to call me. I can also see the battery life on the machines, so if the battery is getting low, I can remind them to plug it in.”
According to Schumacher, there will be two epoll books at each polling place that can communicate with one another.
“The poll books will talk to each other,” she said. “When someone signs in, the other poll book will see that and register it. On the machines, you can also see how many people have signed in on your poll book and how many have signed in total in the precinct.”
The precincts that will be using the epoll books on May 21 will include Hilltop, Kenton Station and Washington.
Absentee voting is already open. Anyone needing to cast an absentee vote can visit the clerk’s office.
Other counties will also be using the poll books.
Bracken County Clerk Rae Jean Poe recently brought the machines to a fiscal court meeting in order to explain how it would work to the magistrates.
“We used them in two precincts last year,” Poe said. “The poll workers liked them and it lowered the amount of time it took for people to sign in. It’s only used to sign in – no one can vote on the machines.”
According to Poe, the machines will eventually be mandatory for all counties to use, so she wants to get everyone used to them early.
“They’re going to be mandatory,” she said. “I don’t know when, but it’s going to happen, so I wanted to go ahead and start using them. It’s simple to use. You just scan your ID and your name will pop up. It will tell you if you’re in the wrong place. If you don’t have an ID, you won’t be denied. The poll worker can enter your name and find you.”