ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – To make the voting process more efficient, the Oneida County Board of Legislators approved the purchase of electronic poll books and on-demand printers from KNOWiNK, which will be used on election day this year.
Electronic poll books have been used in Oneida County since the introduction of early voting in 2019, but thanks to the decision made by the Oneida County Board of Legislators to officially purchase these electronic poll books and on-demand printers – it’s looking like this is the way of the future.
“We’re expecting that this will expedite and create more efficiencies at all of our poll sites allowing people to arrive at their poll site, check-in, and vote, between 35 and 40 seconds,” said Sarah Bormann, Democratic Election Commissioner in Oneida County.
Not only will this save time, but will also help to eliminate innocent human errors, and save county taxpayers money on costs for printing paper poll books and shredding them after they are counted.
To clarify – these poll pads are not a new way of voting, but a more efficient way to check in voters to give them their typical paper ballot.
“This is solely for the purposes of checking in and allowing us to produce the paper ballot for you that’s particular to your district that you reside in,” said Bormann, “This is merely checking in, and then you vote on the paper ballot per usual and cast it on the machine just like before.”
For all those still wondering – this is how it works – when you get to the polling location, you’ll approach the check-in desk where workers will be stationed with a poll pad.
Next, you’ll tell them your last name, or you can scan your government-issued id; once you pop up in the system, you’ll be asked to verify the address on file, and you’ll be asked to sign.
Both the democratic and republican poll workers will then verify that the signature matches and will then proceed with printing your ballot receipt.
You’ll then take that receipt over to the printing station to receive your paper ballot and can proceed with voting as usual.
And if it turns out you’re in the wrong district – you’ll know right away.
“Sometimes it takes a while to locate the name in the paper poll book, if you can’t find it in one book, it might be in another districts book at the same polling location,” said Nichole Shortell, Republican Election Commissioner in Oneida County, “Or, you might be at a completely different polling location.”
She continued, “This would speed up time because on this we’ll be able to tell right away what location you should be at, and we can print out directions or text message you the directions.”
The poll books also ensure that voter information is appropriately updated and can send real-time data regarding candidate standings.
In fact, according to these books, more people have already voted early across Oneida County than they did in 2019, so it will be interesting to see how this election plays out.