Election Tech Tuesday: Electronic Poll Books Are Popular With Administrators, Adopted Differently Across Jurisdictions

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Election Tech Tuesday

This Election Data Dispatch series explores emerging issues in elections technology and their relationship to the future of voting and civic engagement in America.

Electronic Poll Books Are Popular With Administrators, Adopted Differently Across Jurisdictions

Electronic poll books, or e-poll books—digital lists that replace the traditional paper books that poll workers use to check voters in—were recommended by the Presidential Commission on Election Administration as a way for jurisdictions to make voter processing at polling places more accurate and efficient.

This recommendation probably came as no surprise to local election officials. More than half of those who responded to the commission’s Survey of Local Election Officials named e-poll books when asked whether they would like to try any new technologies or administrative procedures.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, e-poll books are becoming more prevalent, with many states authorizing, but not requiring, their use:

  •  The March 2014 primary election was the first time that voters in Chicago were able to use e-poll books; other Illinois jurisdictions were already using the technology.  
  •  Several Indiana counties have used e-poll books since 2007 as part of a pilot program allowing the use of vote centers, which, unlike traditional polling places, allow any eligible voter in the county to cast a ballot. But a 2013 state law that authorizes all jurisdictions to use e-poll books and requires that they be certified is prompting some counties to adopt new technology in advance of the 2014 election.  

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Tags: Election Administration