Analysis

Electronic Poll Books Tested in Nevada County, CA

Nevada County, California, conducted a test of electronic poll books during the state’s June 2014 primary. 

Fifteen of the county’s 56 polling places used 25 e-poll books instead of traditional paper rosters. Nearly 1,800 of the almost 28,000 ballots cast were in polling places using e-poll books. The county found numerous benefits from using the e-poll books, including:

  • Faster voter check-in.
  • Easier polling place navigation, which reduced the use of provisional ballots and could yield $18,000 in cost savings per election if e-poll books were used countywide.
  • Fewer phone calls to elections offices on Election Day.
  • Faster reporting of results.
  • Improved data collection, which can support better analysis and planning.

The e-poll books made it possible for county officials to track how many voters checked in per hour. They found that the busiest time at the polls was 4 to 7 p.m. This information will help officials plan for staff and other resource deployment in future elections.

Additionally e-poll books produced by two different companies were used in the test to allow county officials to compare available features. Officials plan a countywide introduction of the technology in the near future, and they anticipate total savings of as much as $39,000 per election.

This continues a trend that was first featured in a data dispatch in May 2014, in which some local officials who are enthusiastic about this new technology are testing out electronic poll books independently before other jurisdictions, or states as a whole, adopt them. 

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