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County will buy electronic poll books

The Cole County Commission has approved purchasing new voting technology it hopes will reduce the future cost of elections.

For a cost of $66,714, the county will buy 50 electronic poll books.

These books will replace paper poll books to check on voter information to make sure they are voting at the right polling place or are properly registered to vote by using the voter ID card or a driver’s license.

County Clerk Marvin Register said the books will be paid for with $25,146 in grant money, $20,784 coming from the county clerk’s election fund and $20,784 from the commission.

Register also said yearly maintenance on these books would be $11,000, with the commission paying $5,500 of that amount and the clerk’s office paying $5,500 starting in 2012.

“With the poll books, we would reduce the cost of elections by reducing the number of election workers we would need,” he said.

Register said at his 12 biggest polling places he could go from eight workers down to six with these machines, saving the county an estimated $2,160 per election at those polling places. He said he hadn’t looked yet at whether he could go from six down to four workers at his next largest polling places.

Register also said he would also be looking at reducing the number of polling places within the next year.

Currently there are 38 in the county, but that could be reduced by two or three.

He said that the locations he would be looking at is where numbers have been going down, such as City Hall in Jefferson City.

The city draws ward boundaries, but Register said his office draws the precincts.

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