LOCK HAVEN — The latest updates to Clinton County’s election process were unveiled during Monday’s Board of Commissioners business session.
County Registrar of Electors Maria Boileau gave a presentation on express ballot books that will be used in most county precincts during the Tuesday, May 17 primary.
“Traditionally, the poll books are paper. However, this express ballot book – which goes through electrical systems and software (ES&S) allows voters to sign electronically”, Bouileau said.
Boileau said poll workers register thousands of voters on election day. The electronic poll book will ensure that voters are treated correctly every time.
“They won’t turn the pages. They will be able to type the last three letters of someone’s name. So Smith – SMI – and they will search the compound for their constituent,” she says.
The new system will also give workers the ability to direct voters who may be in the wrong constituency.
“So if you’re in the town of Lock Haven and you realize you should be in Woodward Township, the poll worker can actually print out the address of the polling place and the voter can take it,” Bouileau said.
The system also notifies poll workers if someone has already voted by post or mail.
Boileau recently held a training session with poll workers. “He received an excellent response” she says.
“The Express Poll Book produces an accurate tally of votes and provides a second check for poll workers as they check voters and ballots throughout the day,” Boileau explained himself further. “So throughout the day they can print or run a report and check that it matches the number of ballots issued, the number of provisional ballots or the number of spoiled ballots.”
The systems operate similarly to voting machines and go through tests of logic and accuracy. During the primary, Boileau said the election office will work with ES&S and the State Department to ensure a smooth election cycle.
“So we’ll have an ES&S software election person here,” she says. “We’re going to train all of our rovers so they can be there. We will also have a backup paper book just in case.
Boileau said she’s confident election officials won’t need the backup paper books.
The new poll books will be located in most constituencies except for a few with small populations such as the townships of East and West Keating, Noyes and Grugan.
In other election news, Boileau said 1,400 county residents opted to vote by mail or mail-in. Voters can cast their ballot at the ballot box located outside the Piper Building, 2 Piper Way, Lock Haven. Boileau noted that the box is monitored 24/7.
The last day to request an absentee or absentee ballot is May 10. Those voting by mail or by post must return the ballot by 8 p.m. on May 17.
Council Chairman Miles Kessinger reminded county residents not to wait until May 10 to apply for either option.
“If you’re thinking of doing it, don’t wait until the tenth to do it. We have to post it and you have to send it back to us by the 17th,” he said. “It probably won’t happen if you wait until the last day. So if you’re planning on asking for one, do it now.