By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
In 2007, Seward County was one of the first counties to purchase and utilize electronic poll books in Kansas.
Since that time, many counties have started utilizing electronic poll books, and with poll book technology advancing over the years, county election officials recognized the value of mobile check-in during the 2012 presidential election.
This is when personal iPads were utilized to check voter registration through the state Voter View system, which in turn helped eliminate voter registration questions at the check-in table and reduce line wait times.
“When we purchased the Express Poll 5000, we were able to program from a conversion data base created specifically for our county, but over time and with changes to the state’s Election Voter Information System, the programming became impossible,” said elections deputy Crystal Clemens in information in the agenda packet for Tuesday’s county commission meeting.
Clemens said this left the county no option but to use the company Electronic Supplies & Software for poll book programming.
“Any changes in the ELVIS software creates a problem with the poll book programming,” she said referring to voter ID. “Issues with vendor service, programming and aging hardware have prompted to us look at replacing the electronic poll books.”
Seward County currently pays ES&S an average of $750 per election for programming and data conversion, and Clemens said new poll books would eliminate the programming and data conversion.
“This alone will be a $2,250 cost savings for 2014,” she said. “Current yearly license and maintenance with ES&S is $1,000, with the new poll books, this would save $200 a year. For 2014, this will be an additional $1,000 savings.”
Clemens said the elections budget for Seward County currently has just less than $12,000, and the county clerk’s office is seeking permission from the commission to encumber just more than $9,300 from that budget to purchase Poll Pads from Knowink, one of three poll book vendors, along with ES&S and EA, the Kansas Secretary of State has for such items.
The agenda packet quoted the three vendors’ bids for the poll books. ES&S was listed at just more than $3,000 per unit, while EA came in at just less than $1,100 and Knowink at $980 per unit.
The staff recommendation is that the commission waive the purchasing policy and allow the county clerk to encumber just more than $9,300 from 2013 election funds to purchase eight Poll Pad units from Knowink.
The price includes delivery, setup, training and software licensing.
The commission meeting was moved to Tuesday this week due to today’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the commission chambers in the Seward County Administration Building.
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