Hall County is one of three Nebraska test sites for a new electronic poll book.
Voters who cast ballots at the Grand Island Evangelical Free Church, Grand Island Senior High, Northwest High School and Fonner Park can expect to see — and sign in — on the new tablets.
Hall County Election Commissioner Dale Baker said the EA tablets (named after election company Election Administration) should lessen the wait to get a ballot.
“The EA tablet replaces the sign-in poll book,” Baker said.
The electronic poll book will record electronic signatures, which can aid in matching signatures if a problem arises, she said. It also should take less time than paging through the poll books, which can be many inches thick, to find a name.
The wait could be lessened even more if a voter presents a driver’s license, which can be scanned to bring up the voter registration information immediately, Baker said.
“We can’t legally ask for a driver’s license to be presented, but we will have signs stating that, if a voter is comfortable in presenting a driver’s license, it could expedite the process,” she said.
The electronic poll books are being tested in Dakota and Hooker counties, as well, said Neal Erickson, Nebraska’s deputy secretary of state for elections.
“In addition to being an electronic poll book, they provide a platform to put out additional information regarding disabled voters,” Erickson said. “It informs disabled voters what services are available. You can vote via assistance, the AutoMark is available, that type of thing.”
Each tablet costs about $1,000, he said. This year, the Nebraska secretary of state’s office purchased 10 tablets. Four are in Hall County, four in Dakota County and two in Hooker County. All the counties that are testing the tablets were interested in doing so, Erickson said.
“If we rolled this out statewide, it would cost between $1.5 million to $2 million,” he said.
The test sites during Tuesday’s primary election will remain as test sites during the November general election before the state does an official evaluation of the use of electronic poll books.
Using technology in this way could save paper and storage.
“It should help with speed and accuracy, too — as in people not signing on the wrong line,” Erickson said.
Baker said she selected Tuesday’s test sites based on the age of the election workers there and their comfort level with new technology.
“And E-Free is one of our busiest sites,” Baker said. “I think it will be a time savings.”
Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.