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Deployment

Bucks County to deploy digital poll books for general elections

The Bucks County voting system is getting an upgrade.

Gone will be the several thousand-page paper poll books, giving way to new digital tablets that Bucks County officials say will streamline the voting process for constituents and poll workers alike, while saving the county the resources it takes to print and distribute paper poll books. for every election.

Starting in November, each of Bucks County’s 307 precincts will primarily use digital tablet poll books to sign in voters and verify signatures. Bucks County will also print paperback poll books a final time for the upcoming elections, purely as a backup and for poll workers who may still be uncomfortable with the new system.

The Buck County Board of Commissioners voted in favor of the move during its meeting on Wednesday.

“The process of entering your name in the poll book that everyone is used to when they go to vote is very inefficient and takes up a lot of time,” said Chairman Bob Harvie. “That’s 27,000 pages of paper every election, and I don’t even know how many cases of toner (that consumes), but we have to print for all 307 precincts.

“It’s a labor-intensive, time-consuming matter.”

Related:Quakertown woman gets county jail sentence for mail-in ballot fraud

The tablets, with attached stylus, will be mounted on a swivel to allow easy access for poll worker and voter, and, outside of connecting to a main database, will be using a closed operating system.

“First they are not connected to the internet,” Harvie said. “They do contain the names of every voter in Bucks County for the reason that if you go up to a polling place and you don’t know where you’re supposed to vote, they can literally tell you right there by putting your name in and… you’re on your way.

“It’s much faster and more convenient for the voters themselves.”

The digital tablets were tested in random polling locations throughout Bucks County during the primary elections, and Harvie said the tablets “received rave reviews” from areas that were both primarily Republican and primarily Democrat.

Harvie also addressed concerns regarding the security tablets and the information they contain.

Further insight:We analyzed almost 30 million rows of Pennsylvania voter registration data. Here’s how

“We know there are a lot of people who have talked for years about voter fraud, despite there being no evidence of it and poll watchers from both parties speaking out about it being a nonexistent problem,” Harvie said, adding that these devices are virtually hack-proof and eliminate the bar-scanning process altogether. “But we still have people who are frankly conned into believing” voter fraud is a major issue.

“They just don’t understand the intricacies of how our elections work,” Harvie added. “Poll watchers from any political party can come and watch the process, and watch how painstaking the security is, the duplication and redundancies (put in place) to make sure everything is done properly; some people just don’t know about it and lack that knowledge.”

The new digital tablet sign-in system is operated by St. Louis-based KnowInk, LLC, which deployed its tablet signing system in 36 states and has more than 100,000 of its proprietary pads in use nationwide.

In Pennsylvania, KnowInk operates 398 of its poll pads in five jurisdictions.

Bucks County purchased a total of 635 units from KnowInk. In the first year, the poll pad software fee of $412,750 was included in the initial cost, while the second and third year annual software license, maintenance and other fees will be $79,375.00 each.

Another benefit to Bucks County, Harvie said, is that this new system will plug into Pennsylvania’s new voter system.

“There are a few companies that make (voter) tablets, but we chose this company because they are also connected to the new voter database the commonwealth is using next year,” Harvie said. “So this will be a seamless integration with these tablets and how they function.

“It will be a big advantage for us.”

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