Montgomery to be testing ground for new technology at polls

Published: May. 6, 2015 at 2:41 AM CDT|Updated: May. 14, 2015 at 2:41 AM CDT
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Secretary of State John Merrill speaks to Montgomery city leaders about pilot program at the...
Secretary of State John Merrill speaks to Montgomery city leaders about pilot program at the polls

Montgomery will be the first spot in the state where a new pilot program will be tested out at the polls in the upcoming municipal election.

Secretary of State John Merrill discussed the plan for electronic poll books with Montgomery council members during their work session Tuesday afternoon, saying it will modernize the election process by speeding up check-in.

ID's will be scanned when voters arrive at their polling place, making things more efficient and helping to eliminate lines.

The program is already being used in Georgia and Maryland and the Secretary of State's Office wants to take it statewide in Alabama for the 2016 presidential election but they want to introduce it in Montgomery on a smaller scale first. If it's successful, it will be expanded regionally, then across Alabama.

The Secretary of State says the new technology will "modernize" voting.

"It will expedite the process and it will be a lot more convenient for people and it will make it a lot more efficient and effective as they go to their polling place because they won't have to flip through the pages and they won't have to highlight your name off the list. You'll just be able to do it all electronically. You'll sign and they'll have a permanent receipt that you've been by and you'll be able to vote and go on your merry way," Merrill said.

Council members voiced their support for the pilot program but it is contingent on House Bill 359 passing first before voters see the new equipment when we go to vote. House Bill 359 approved electronic poll books in lieu of printed lists of qualified voters at polling places and authorizes the Secretary of State to implement the pilot program in Montgomery for the August 25th election.

There would be an absentee product with the program for members of the military oversees.

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