As noted by the Commission, polling places need adequate staff and resources to effectively manage Election Day (and early voting periods, for some). Electronic pollbooks -- which are simply the electronic version of paper pollbooks listing eligible voters in each jurisdiction -- allow poll workers to quickly and accurately locate voter information, confirm registration status, and provide the appropriate ballot. Many systems provide real-time access to county and state registration lists, allowing poll workers to redirect voters who show up at the wrong site -- a potential time-saver for voters and elections officials alike. For states with same-day registration, use of electronic pollbooks additionally allows clerks to immediately record a first-time voter's registration information or any changes a current voter has to his/her address, without having to wait until after Election Day. Electronic pollbooks cut down on paper, potentially save money, and allow elections officials greater ease on an otherwise harried day.
Colorado and Georgia use electronic pollbooks in all jurisdictions, and Michigan uses them in the majority of jurisdictions. Some counties in Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania use them, but none has any state-wide mandate. Alaska, Kentucky, and Louisiana do not use electronic pollbooks in any jurisdiction, although Alaska does plan on adopting them in 2015 and Louisiana is currently studying them. Mindful that states need resources to make the necessary purchases -- and budgets across the country typically are tight -- we nevertheless advocate for all jurisdictions to pay the fees upfront to reap the ultimate benefits. Electronic pollbooks make elections more efficient, cut down on time, and pave the way for easier implementation of same-day registration, enhancing the experience for both voters and poll workers alike. Indeed, of all the potential resources poll workers seek, electronic pollbooks are a top priority. Though it is essential that workers be adequately trained in how to use them, and that the proper software is purchased to prevent potential breakdowns, these are matters states are well-equipped to handle.
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