Linn County Supervisors approve purchase of new technology to check in voters

Published: May. 22, 2019 at 4:09 PM CDT
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When voters head to the polls for a special election next month in Alubrnett they may notice something different when they go to check in.

Poll workers will be using a new piece of technology that aims to make the voting process more efficient.

The new state voter I.D. law requires voters show an approved government I.D. before they can cast their ballot. In Linn County devices called "poll pads" will be used by poll workers to make sure those trying to vote are eligible to do just that.

At the Linn County Board of Supervisors meeting on Wednesday, just shy of $145,000 was approved to purchase poll pads and tablets from a St. Louis, Missouri company called Knowink. The company's website says including Iowa, they are already working in 22 states.

"The taxpayers here in Linn County really didn't have a choice," said Supervisor Stacey Walker. "This was handed down from the state and we've had to comply."

Walker added he is in favor of anything that can make the election process more efficient.

Linn County Auditor Joel Miller says in his jurisdiction they have already been using a limited number of poll pads in recent elections and he has been happy with the job they have done.

"The i-pad will read the I.D. with the camera that is built into the i-pad," said Miller. "If we had stuck with the lap top solution there would have had to have been a separate, basically bar code reader."

Miller thinks the devices will make sure people can check in and vote as fast as possible.

The upcoming vote in Alburnett Miller says will be the first election where only poll pads are used to check voters in.

A spokesperson for the Iowa Secretary of State's office tells TV9 it is their goal to have devices similar to those Linn County will be using in all 99 counties for elections. They add while the devices are not required, so far 95 are already using them in some capacity.