New technology aids voting, but familiar hurdles remain

August 19, 2012| By Alia Conley and Alissa Skelton, For The Inquirer Election officials are…

Georgia (Aug 20, 2012)

Link To Article

August 19, 2012|

By Alia Conley and Alissa Skelton, For The Inquirer

Election officials are finding that new technology enables efficient elections, even eliminating the need for voters to show photo ID. However, obtaining identification documents to register remains a hurdle for the elderly and minorities who lack those resources.

Electronic poll books, which essentially are computer software that load digital registration records, are used in at least one county in27 states, including Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

In Pennsylvania, Bradford and Washington Counties used some of the federal voting-act money to install the electronic poll books, according to the Department of State. New Jersey counties do not use them. 

Poll books are emerging as an alternative to photo ID requirements to authenticate voters' identity, address, and registration status when they show up at polling places to vote.

Voting is the same, but signing in with electronic poll books is different. Poll workers check in voters using a faster, computer version of paper voter rolls. Upon arrival, voters give their name, address, or in some states, such as Iowa, they can choose to scan their photo IDs.

A far better job

Georgia and Maryland were the first to use electronic poll books statewide in 2005, said Merle King, executive director for the Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw (Ga.) State University. 


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit