Some counties struggle to pay for electronic poll books

Price of electronic poll books a problem for some counties in state

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -Counties across the state use electronic poll books that experts said can help shorten lines and keep election information safe.

“This will help expedite the process for checking in whenever a voter goes to their polling site and will reduce their wait time between 60 and 75 percent,” said Secretary of State John Merrill.

Despite these claimed benefits, not every Alabama county uses them.

“Some of them don’t have the resources to purchase it right now or some would prefer the old-fashioned way for whatever reason it’s important to them,” Merrill said.

Bullock County is an example.

“I would love to utilize the electronic poll books. In fact we have some but we don’t have the funding to utilize them at this time," said Bullock County Probate Judge James Tatum.

Counties are experiencing similar stories like this across the state.

For example, the Perry County Probate Judge Eldora Anderson said the state gave the county physical electronic polling books. However, it would cost $270 for the company KNOWiNK’s software. This brings the total cost for 15 poll books up to $4,050 for the software.

Judge Anderson said the county does not have the money for this right now.

Here is a breakdown of what it costs to purchase a poll book from the company KNOWiNK.

Poll Pad Package pricing in Alabama Cost
iPad $310
Transport Case $125
i360 Stand $40
Stylus Pen (2) $5
Poll Pad Software $270
Configuration/Kitting/Shipping/Handling $100

There are HAVA Election Security Funds available for some counties. They could use them for electronic poll books, but Bullock County puts the money elsewhere.

“We’re utilizing that to cover our maintenance cost for our voting apparatus and machines and things of that nature and the upkeep,” said Judge Tatum.

The 31 counties highlighted plan to use the electronic poll books for the general election November 6th.

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