New voting system tried during Oneonta tax referendum


Chief probate clerk (retired) Bonnie Monty demonstrates use of a new electronic poll book being evaluated for use throughout the county.

Chief probate clerk (retired) Bonnie Monty demonstrates use of a new electronic poll book being evaluated for use throughout the county.

The only difference voters will experience in a new voting system to be tested during the Oneonta property tax referendum this week is signing in the signature space of a computer screen instead of signing a paper poll register before receiving a ballot.

The entire sequence is as follows: (1) The voter approaches the poll worker at the registration desk and offers his/her driver’s license, as usual. (2) The poll worker scans the driver’s license into the electronic poll book which has been pre-loaded via a thumb drive with the registered voters list for that precinct. (3) If the voter is registered, but does not have a driver’s license, the poll worker can enter name and address information manually. (4) When the voter’s information is found, the poll worker reverses the screen to face the voter, and the voter signs in the signature box. (5) Then the voter receives a blank ballot, and the voting process continues as usual.

Advantages include faster processing and improved accuracy. Voters attempting to vote at the wrong precinct are automatically identified and directed to the correct voting place. Safeguards built into the software prevent any individual from voting more than once. The new system is being evaluated for countywide implementation, but a firm date is not yet known, pending the outcome of the evaluation.