Supervisors approve upgraded poll book to help with long lines

Published 9:41 am Friday, October 8, 2021

While a new voting location might not be possible to alleviate the long lines and wait times experienced during the last Presidential election, Lafayette County Board of Supervisors approve some upgraded technology as a possible way to speed things up.

The Board approved the purchase of 55 new poll books in an effort to help get Lafayette County voters in and out of polling locations faster.

During the 2020 election, the polling location on Tommie Collie Jane Road saw lines nearly down to Highway 6 with wait times nearly an hour.

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Lafayette County Circuit Clerk Jeff Busby looked into methods that could help remedy those issues experienced last fall for upcoming elections. Busby noted the larger-than-average turnout Lafayette County experienced for the Presidential election played a big part in the issues.

“The true answer is when you have 22,000 people that vote, you’re going to have lines,” Busby said. “Turn on your TV, all across the country there (were) lines. You’re never going to alleviate all those lines.”

Busby got in touch with Bill Lowe of Electric Systems & Software, who presented the option of updating the poll books. The software allows a voter to present their photo identification to the poll worker who then runs it through a scanner. The bar code on the voter’s driver’s license is scanned and their information is pulled up quickly, getting them to a voting booth faster.

If the scanner does not work, the poll worker can still manually type in the voter’s name and a list will begin to generate.

“It is more proficient than the poll books you have now,” Lowe told the Board. “It’s a lot more user-friendly for your poll workers.”

The 55 books cost around $70,000, which was already budgeted by the Supervisor for the purchase of poll books a few years ago.