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Electronic poll books make their debut Tuesday

WAAY 31 talked with voters and poll workers about the new electronic poll books and learned how it impacted their voting experience.

Posted: Jun. 5, 2018 3:50 PM
Updated: Jun. 5, 2018 5:44 PM

Tuesday was the day the new electronic poll books made their debut in voting precincts across north Alabama.

WAAY 31 talked with voters and poll workers about the new electronic system and learned how it impacted their voting experience.

“It was a snap! I didn’t have to wait on somebody to shuffle papers when I went in," said voter, Peggy Bilbro.

That’s the experience Bilbro had when she went to cast her vote on Tuesday--with the debut of electronic poll books.

“The state has done a good job of putting that system together, and it makes things easier for the voter and for the poll workers both," said poll worker, Bob White. "And it makes the lines move quicker.”

White says he believes the new poll books have made the voting process more convenient for everyone. And that’s not all.

“It’ll prevent cross-over voting,” he said.

However, not everyone is completely sold on the new electronic method.

“I’m not quite sure how this new process is going to be any different from what we were doing before," said voter, Mary Marsh. "I’m sure it’s a little bit more costly.”

But even with her doubts, Marsh says she can see how the electronic poll books may be more efficient at certain polling locations.

“Maybe for some of the other larger polling areas, that may be beneficial to them," she said.

And while voters appreciate the quickness of the new electronic method, they’re still worried about potential hacking.

“My only concern is the security of it," said Bilbro. “I think any electronic system is vulnerable to hacking. I have no idea if this will be more secure than the paper lists.”

But officials say the system is secure and will actually help to eliminate voter fraud, which is something many voters say they’re excited to hear.

“That’s probably a very pro item for that system," Marsh said.

The new electronic system will also keep track of which party you voted for in the primary as the new Alabama law states you must vote for the same party if there is a run-off.

Right now, the electronic poll books are being used in Madison, Morgan, and Jackson counties, but officials say they’re hoping the poll books are mandatory statewide by the year 2022.

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