LIMA — Participating in the democratic process has never been easier in Allen County.
That was the message of the Allen County Board of Elections, which tested its new voter check-in system Tuesday at the board office in the Court of Appeals Building.
The board is using the KNOWiNK Poll Pad, an iPad-based voter check-in system that allows poll workers to give voters the correct ballot by swiping their driver licenses or state idetification cards. Voters without an ID card can be manually entered in the system if they bring a utility bill with them.
“We’ve had a lot of people come in at the beginning, which is great,” board director Ken Terry said. “The system, so far, is working great. The purpose of this is just to get the bugs worked out before we go live in November. Poll workers so far have had a very positive reaction to it.”
Terry estimates this technology, obtained through appropriations from the state legislature, will reduce the check-in time for voters from an average of three minutes down to 30 seconds. The Poll Pad will serve as the one check-in point, preventing voters from having to line up in specific lines for each precinct.
“We’re able to process voters a lot more efficiently,” Terry said. “It used to be that if there were four precincts, there were four tables, and you had to know which table to go to.”
Voters will still use paper ballots, as before, with the tabulation process remaining the same. According to Terry, the process will also be very secure, with the iPads not connected to the Internet.
“These two pads are connected to each other, but there’s no outside connection,” he said. “Even if they were, Apple is known for their security, and the company itself has done testing and has passed with flying colors.”
Poll workers Connie Hogan, of Elida, and Myrna Myers, of Harrod, were both very impressed with the new system.
“I think it will speed up the process a lot,” Hogan said. “You don’t have to a list of names, find the person and get them signed in.”
“From the experience I had going as a voter, this is a lot more efficient,” Myers said.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.