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August 15, 2012 05:22 PM

M'Haha Co. Won't Use E-Polling In General Election

Despite confidence from the Minnehaha county auditor, commissioners say there are too many questions about electronic polling books that won't be answered before November 6.

Electronic polling books are used to quickly sign-in voters and they eliminate the need for precincts. And they are poised to become the future of South Dakota elections.

But, Minnehaha County voters won't be using them in November.

"We just want to have a few more facts before we jump into it," Minnehaha County Commissioner Dick Kelly said.

E-polling books have been tested for more than a year in Sioux Falls and three other counties, verifying voters during primary, city and school board elections. But Kelly isn't convinced the new technology is right for the general election.

"There are still some unanswered questions on the commissioners part and we wanted to hold back and not do it on a major elections where a small problem might turn into a huge problem," Kelly said.

Commissioners are also concerned about long-term costs, software maintenance and upgrades of the e-polling books.

But once the kinks are worked out, County Auditor Bob Litz says the technology should be ready to go by 2014.

"I am fairly confident at this point that it would work but we do honestly have some unanswered questions and contracts to write up," Litz said.

And with up to 85 percent of registered voters expected on November 6, Litz says the new technology is a gamble the county can't afford to take. 

"It's huge. We're probably going to have 108,000 registered voters in the county this time," Litz said.

Four counties will be using e-books in November, including Yankton, Hyde, Sully and Potter. Litz plans to closely watch how the technology is used in those precincts

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