"E-polling" coming to Hamilton County

May 4, 2015

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.