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Machine could help with voting problems

Duval County looks to implement electronic poll books

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It's no secret elections Florida have been coming under fire, with long lines, questionable ballots and the time it takes to check if someone is eligible to vote.

Now a machine called an electronic poll book could help solve some of that. It's already used in early voting to verify a voter.

Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland said he would like to see them in every county precinct on Election Day. He said it will benefit voters in many ways.

"Plus, it takes away one of the possibilities that voters can vote twice, which currently today with paper registers they can go from one precinct to the next and vote twice and get away with it Election Day," Holland said. "The electronic poll book negates that because they are interconnected."

As it stands now, voters have to sign a paper register and stand in lines in alphabetical order. This will do away with that and free up workers, allowing them to expand early voting.

"It will allow us to do early voting on the Sunday before the election, because that is when we print the registers and have to prepare them for Election Day," Holland said.

Other benefits include fewer provisional ballots, the ones checked by staff after an election to verify signatures and eligibility, and it will allow instant access to tracking voters on Election Day to see trends and where people are turning out.

Holland said his office has grants to help cut down on the cost, but it will still run the city nearly $800,000. That still must be approved by City Council.

"It's more than just about the cost," Holland said. "It's about making sure our elections are secure, making sure we have every opportunity for early voting."

While the machines will continue to be used for early voting, Holland hopes they are implemented in the budget and approved by the end of year in time for the next major election.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.