Less time waiting at the polls: SC voters to see new voting technology during Nov. election

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CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Voters may spend less time at the polls on Election Day thanks to technology. Governor McMaster approved $5 million for the state Election Commission to buy electronic poll books.

The devices will speed up the voting process, as well as, help keep poll workers and voters at a distance to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Managers will use the devices when signing voters in. This will help them identify which ballot each voter is supposed to have instead of scanning through a list of names on paper.

Ballot styles vary based on where a voter lives, making it possible to distribute the wrong ballot.

Chris Whitmire, spokesman for SC Election Commission said this will help eliminate human error and make the voting process much faster.

“It’s going to take that person to person interaction between the poll manager and the voter away,” he said.

“Where that poll manager is standing beside the voter at the ballot marking device selecting the correct ballot style – well they’re not doing that anymore. They can step back and stand away from the voter. The voter can go to the marking device on their own,” Whitmire explained.

Precincts are expected to have at least two e-poll books. Whitmire told News13, the devices are expected to stick around even after the pandemic.

Some electronic poll books are already en-route to voter registration offices. Poll workers will learn how to use them within the next week or so.

Whitmire also mentioned how the e-poll books would help ensure a valid voting process.

“The new poll books should make voters more confident for a number of different reasons,” he said.

“One it’s taking the guesswork out of ballot styles. That data comes directly from the voter registration systems – the voting systems and makes sure the voter gets the right ballot,” Whitmire explained.

The device will also automatically show if a voter registered for absentee voting, which makes voting twice unlikely. If voters arrive to the wrong precinct the electronic poll books will show them exactly where they should vote.

The deadline to register in-person at your local voter registration office is Friday, October 2. You have until Sunday, October 4 to register to vote online.

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