Chicago Debuts Electronic Polling Book

Election commissioner says upgrade will help prevent voters from being disenfranchised

Veteran Chicago voters headed to the polls Tuesday won't see staffers scouring those massive books for confirmation of registration.

For the first time, the Chicago Board of Elections is using a tablet that commissioner Langdon Neal said should speed things along and provide enhanced security.

"It's time to replace the old phone book technology with electronic technology. The judges will have all records for all 1.6 million registered voters in Chicago in each precinct," he said.

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners reported that more than 95 percent of Chicago precincts used the electronic poll books Tuesday.

"Our goal today was to see 80 percent of Chicago's precincts use the Electronic Poll Books," said Neal. "Today, we saw Election Judges in nearly 96 percent of our precincts operate the E Poll Books. We knew we would encounter some bumps with this roll-out, but of all the things we saw today, all of them appear to be very easy to address before the next election."

Neal said, given voter turnout, he believes it was the "absolutely perfect time" to debut the technology. If a voter is in the wrong precinct, for example, a poll worker will immediately be able to identify that and send the voter to the correct address. The system will also alert a poll worker if a voter has already cast a ballot.

Tuesday's election narrows the field of candidates for a number of statewide races, including governor and U.S. Senate.

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