New technology will welcome voters to the polls in Fayette County in the US today for its primary elections. The new system involves the leasing of 110 Total Vote Poll Pads, which use touch-screen software to replace traditional poll books. The Poll Pads have been used previously in more than 1,700 jurisdictions across 36 states and are expected to create a smoother and more efficient process in Fayette County. The pads will speed up check-ins, reduce lines and provide election officials with a record of all those casting in-person votes. As well as being able to identify inactive voters, the technology offers some provisional ballot functions.
– Each of Fayette County’s 77 precincts will receive at least one Poll Pad, with a traditional poll book held as backup.
– The Poll Pads aren’t connected to the internet, but are connected to each other via a database.
– All mail-in and absentee ballots returned have been sorted via an Agilis Falcon mechanical ballot sorter, which scans and keeps photographic records of each ballot.
Mark Mehalov and Melinda Dellarose have both cross-filed to run for the single open seat for judge in Fayette County, following the retirement of John F. Wagner Jr. Voters will also nominate Democrat and Republican candidates in a number of municipal and county-wide races, including commissioners, Common Pleas Court judge, district attorney and coroner.
For voters, the Poll Pads system provides a similar experience to using a tablet or smartphone and brings welcome increased efficiency to voting. This year, 7,024 mail-in and absentee ballots were mailed to voters in Fayette County, with more than 4,000 ballots returned and sorted by the Agilis Falcon machine.
In an age where we conduct most of our daily activities using apps on our mobiles, it’s beneficial to see voting systems change for good. Offering increased efficiency not only lowers costs in wage hours and time spent organising and securing paper books, but it also aids voters feeling empowered in the democratic process.
The new Poll Pads and the Agilis Falcon mechanical ballot sorter are both examples of the constant evolution of technology in daily life. It is only right that the democratic process should see the implementation of technology that helps increase speed and efficiency, ultimately improving the entire voting experience.