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0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a4f90000Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 16 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time.

"E-polling" coming to Hamilton County

Ann Thompson

Hamilton County’s polling places could soon replace paper poll books with electronic ones – possibly by November’s election.

The Hamilton County Board of Elections unanimously voted Monday morning to authorize its staff to prepare a contract with Tenax, a Florida company, to place the electronic poll books in all 373 of the county’s polling places.

Voters would have their identification cards, such as driver’s licenses, scanned and would automatically be given the correct ballot for their precinct. If voters were in the wrong polling place, it would print out directions to their proper polling places.

Voters would have to sign on electronic pads. Poll workers would compare the signatures to the ones on file. Sally Krisel, deputy director of the board of elections, said the technology is such that the electronic signatures will be easy to read.

“What it will do is speed up the process of voting and the work of the poll workers immensely,’’ said Tim Burke, chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Elections. “You can check in at any table in a polling place, and you will be given the correct ballot.”

Seventeen of the state’s 88 counties are already using e-polling.

Burke said the county is waiting for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to authorize wi-fi in all polling places, which he said would aid in tracking votes and keeping a running tally of voter turnout.

Krisel said the board staff will present the elections board with a motion authorizing them to enter into a contract with Tenax. Krisel said they hope to have a contract signed and the system in place by the November election.

The cost will be about $1.4 million, Krisel said. The county has been setting aside money in a special account for several years to pay for the change, Krisel said.