Eyes on 2020 with new electronic poll books

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UTICA, NY (WUTR-TV) — Before voting for a preferred candidate, many New Yorkers will now sign in on a screen.

Statewide elections measures passed in 2019 also brought about grants to help counties pay for electronic poll books.

The Herkimer County Board of Elections plans to have one located in each of the county’s 71 election districts, next year.

“That will allow us to have real-time recording of peoples’ votes, to make it easier for reporting to the state and to track voters within the county,” Herkimer County Board of Elections’ Democratic Commissioner Anthony Fumarola said.

Fumarola said there will be additional ‘backups’ if technical issues arise.

“Each iPad (which are used for the electronic poll book information) is encrypted separately so that each iPad is not hackable,” Kim Tranter said, the county’s republican elections commissioner.

Toni Martino, director of the Northeast Cybersecurity and Forensics Center at Utica College, says he has little worry the electronic poll books present security concerns.

“There is no sensitive information in there. All that is in there is a name and what district you’re allowed to vote in. It’s not like ‘oh, well, if someone steals this they have your whole identity.’ They certainly don’t,” Martino said.

Like Herkimer County’s elections commissioners, Martino says there’s added benefit for New York’s new tech.

“Paper books can become lost, stolen, damaged, pages are missing. I think it’s going to be a lot easier to keep up-to-date so that it has accurate information as people are removed from the voting rolls.”

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