Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent’s office used Longboat Key’s March 25 municipal election as a testing ground for new electronic equipment that will be deployed in full force later this year for the county’s primary.
Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections volunteers used three new electronic pollbooks to sign in registered voters at Town Hall on Tuesday.
The pollbooks are a combination of hardware and software installed on iPads that allow election officials to review and/or process voter information during an election. The pollbooks, though, don’t count votes.
The hardware on the iPads allows volunteers to swipe the barcodes on Florida driver’s licenses to pull up registered voters. Voters can then sign in electronically before casting their votes.
Sarasota County voters have previously had to wait in alphabetical lines by last name as volunteers looked for their names on large paper precinct registers and had voters sign in next to their name on registers.
For the March 25 election, which included the town’s municipal election and a Sarasota County School District referendum, Longboat Key had three new pollbooks for sign-in purposes. Each of the county’s 99 districts also had one pollbook each to get used to the new equipment and look up registered voters if they arrived at the wrong district.
Pollbook functions include voter lookup, verification, identification, precinct assignment, ballot assignment, voter history update and other functions such as name change, address change and/or redirecting voters to the correct voting location.
“They are working very well and are an excellent fraud preventer and voter history checker,” Dent said. “We will use them to check in all voters for the primary and their efficiency will require the use of less volunteers in the future.”
Dent said the 300 new pollbooks cost $800 each, which included the software, and were paid for last year after there was some money leftover in last year’s fiscal budget.
Dent said 42 counties in Florida use pollbooks, including the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office.
This article was changed at 4:07 p.m. March 26 to correct the price for the pollbooks.
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